Clarion Housing Group, the UK’s largest provider of affordable housing, has secured more than £1.3m in funding from the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) to provide homes for former rough sleepers.
Alongside an upfront £300,000 investment by Clarion, the funding will be used to purchase twenty one-bedroom properties across Broadland, South Norfolk and Fenland in the east of England. These properties will provide long-term, secure homes for rough sleepers currently housed in temporary accommodation by Broadland District Council, South Norfolk Council and Fenland District Council.
The Councils will receive additional NSAP funding to provide intensive, tailored support to those living in these homes over the next three years.
In Broadland and South Norfolk this includes having two dedicated support workers to ensure residents receive the support they need to manage and sustain their tenancies. In Fenland, in-home support will be provided by local homelessness charity, the Ferry Project, to help people maintain their tenancy and remain living independently.
The objective is that these residents will move into more permanent accommodation within two years to enable other former rough sleepers to benefit from the scheme.
It is hoped that the twenty properties, which will be long-term “national assets” for a minimum of 30 years, will be purchased and ready to let by the end of March 2021.
Michelle Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer of Clarion Housing Group, said:
“Clarion’s history goes back more than 100 years and core to our mission is providing homes to those who are in greatest need and would otherwise be at risk of homelessness.
“As winter approaches and we find ourselves in the midst of a second national lockdown, moving people off the streets and into secure homes has never been more important. We’re proud to be working with Broadland District Council, South Norfolk Council and Fenland District Council to provide homes for former rough sleepers, as well as the support they need to find their feet and thrive.”
South Norfolk Council’s Cabinet Member for Better Lives, Councillor Yvonne Bendle, said:
“By working with our partner agencies and local community groups, we are continuing to get people off the streets and are working hard to stop them ending up there in the first place. This money ensures that the most vulnerable in our district will get the accommodation, as well as the help and support they need to get back on their feet.”
Broadland District Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Wellbeing, Councillor Fran Whymark, said:
“This funding will ensure we are giving people the best possible chance to rebuild their lives, with support and help as well as long-term secure accommodation. While we do everything we can to prevent and support rough sleepers, this funding boost will help make sure no one slips through the net and will help put an end to homelessness for good.”
Cllr Samantha Hoy, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:
“In Fenland we are passionate about our homelessness prevention work and proud of the effective action that has been taken to protect rough sleepers from the pandemic.
“The next step in our mission is to ensure they have a more settled home, and this funding will help us and our partners to achieve that. It will help to deliver those crucial homes and provide more opportunities for people to turn their lives around.”
The funding follows the announcement in July of Clarion’s three-year partnership with homelessness charity St Mungo’s which aims to not only raise funds, but also leverage shared expertise and resources to tackle the causes of homelessness and support people in their recovery.