OPINION: Homes are at the heart of settled futures

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The National Housing Federation’s #HomesattheHeart campaign this week puts housing at the forefront of providing settled futures for vulnerable people, with a key focus on supporting those who are already homeless or preventing those at risk from sleeping rough.

As our organisation was founded out of a day shelter provision back in 1976, supporting the homeless has always been one of our main aims as we look to help people get their lives back on track.

For those homeless, not having an address means finding employment and claiming benefits can be extremely difficult, whilst other issues such as lack of washing facilities and lack of access to IT equipment makes it very challenging to break into the job market.

With COVID-19 seeing a sharp rise in people needing social housing, the short-term effects of the pandemic sees low-income earners roughly twice as likely to lose their jobs.


It isn’t just employment issues that can see people become homeless either. For instance, addictions, fleeing domestic violence and criminal records are just some of the many factors that can lead to homelessness.

For people like Jason*, support schemes like our STAY at Home service have provided a lifeline. Living in a poorly maintained property with no benefits and relying on food parcels and utility vouchers, Jason ultimately came to us for support.

A support worker helped Jason with visits to the job centre and the bank and helped him with claiming and then budgeting his monthly benefits. Jason had mild learning difficulties and was moved into accommodation provided by our Intensive Housing Management (IHM) service.

After spending time at our IHM properties, Jason soon no longer had to use food banks and was doing his own shopping. His support worker helped find some disability-friendly flats available in Bradford and he has since settled into his new home.

For vulnerable clients like Jason, our services can provide real hope and a fresh start as people look to rebuild their lives. These support and accommodation services, whether they are short term or long term, ensure clients feel safe and secure, something extremely important during this pandemic.


For more from the #HomesattheHeart campaign, click here.


*Jason is not his real name