Category Archives: Homes for Cathy Blo

Can do attitude helps Broadland rise to Next Steps challenge

In the third in our series of articles about the role of Homes for Cathy members in delivering the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme, we spoke to Broadland Housing’s Executive Development Director Andrew Savage and Executive Director of Housing Catherine Little, to find out how they’re rising to the challenge to provide interim accommodation for homeless people in Norfolk.

What’s the homelessness picture in your local area?

Andrew:

Broadland provides more than 5,000 homes across Norfolk and north Suffolk, so we cover both urban and very rural areas.  As a city and major town in Norfolk, Norwich and King’s Lynn have always been very much at the sharp end of homelessness, with multiple pressing issues such as a large number of migrant homeless with no recourse to public funds.  However, since the pandemic hit, registered providers have realised that there is a homelessness issue right across the area now, not just in the larger settlements.  For example, we’ve seen increasing numbers of people rough sleeping in places like Great Yarmouth and towns in North Norfolk that aren’t normally associated with homelessness, such as Fakenham and North Walsham.  Consequently, there’s been a lot of pressure on local authorities to accommodate people at short notice, with no additional funds to do so. 

Tell us about the projects you are undertaking with NSAP funding…

Andrew:

We asked ourselves the question ‘where do we have critical mass?’ and the answer is Norwich, King’s Lynn and Great Yarmouth.  In Great Yarmouth, the local authority wanted to own their properties, as they are a stock holding authority.  So Broadland are providing development agency services to help the three new build developments the council are undertaking.  These when completed will provide circa 30, 50sqm one bedroomed self-contained apartments using modular construction.

In Norwich, we’re working with Norwich City Council to deliver three projects.  We’re buying 10 street flats to provide ex-offenders with a stable home and help them reintegrate into the community. This is using the city’s Right to Buy monies and Broadland capital.  We’re also purchasing an additional 10 flats, using Next Steps funding, on the open market which will be dedicated to Housing First tenants.  Finally, we’re building six one-bedroom modular flats in a new development intended for move-on accommodation.

In King’s Lynn, we have two projects underway using Next Steps funding in collaboration with the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.  Again, we’re buying six flats on the open market as part of a Housing First project, and leasing ten one bedroom flats for move on.

Broadland Housing Group’s development director Andrew Savage

Did your NSAP bid include any revenue funding?

Catherine:

Yes, we have revenue funding to support our Housing First projects and also to support people in move-on accommodation.  It’s important that people who have experienced homelessness aren’t just given a home and expected to fend for themselves.  For the Housing First projects, we’ve commissioned support from specialist providers, who can provide the right expertise in this area.

What have been the key challenges around delivering on the Next Steps programme?

Andrew:

The main challenge has been that we already had our annual development programme in place, so we’re adding to a programme in a way that wasn’t planned.   It had to be a knee-jerk response because of the funding becoming available – it’s forced us to be reactive which isn’t always ideal in delivering new supply.  Despite this, we haven’t wanted to lower our ambitions on quality.  For example, we’ve done many modern methods of construction (MMC) projects in the past, so it’s not necessarily a new approach, but we’re using it for the right solution.  In terms of meeting the March deadline, there have been a few delays, particularly with the modular accommodation and the housing market supply ebbing and flowing through the various lockdowns however MHCLG and Housing England have been sensible where they can see we’re well advanced with plans.

Catherine:

MHCLG have been brilliant about what they want to achieve but, I agree, it’s not been particularly strategic.  I think we should be looking at a system change instead; unfortunately it feels like we’re a million miles away from that.  The idea of a ‘national asset’ is great, but moving people around is not true Housing First – it doesn’t allow people to put down roots. 

Catherine Little, Broadland’s executive director of housing

What learnings have you taken from the process?

Andrew:

I think in the future, it would be beneficial for the co-ordination to come from either Housing England or MHCLG, rather than both.  Looking ahead I personally feel, funding for years two and three needs to come out at the same time, so that we can plan accordingly.  It would be much better to deliver extra supply rather than partly buying from the existing market stock.  However, there’s always going to be a learning curve and ultimately this was a need in the sector that hadn’t been dealt with.  We now have an opportunity to help deliver what we can in the short term and hopefully people will see the merits in medium term programmes to deliver the ambition of long term national assets.

Catherine:

We’ve been able to build on existing relationships which has been great; fortunately there was already a good deal of trust between Broadland and our local authorities, which made us a natural partner.  We’ve worked more closely with other housing associations to make sure we’re co-ordinating, not competing in this area. The question now is ‘how do we continue to build on these positive relationships?’  From our point of view, it’s vital that we keep an open conversation going with both commissioners and strategic housing providers. 

It’s also vital not to underestimate the importance of the third sector, which has provided strong support across the whole of the county during the crisis.  We believe that if another provider can do something better, they should be the one doing it – no one agency needs to try to do everything.  The partnership approach has definitely broken down some of the barriers that may have existed in the past, which is wonderful.

What positives have you taken from the process?

Catherine:

We’re lucky to be working in an organisation with the leadership of a CEO (Michael Newey) who is passionate about the need to end homelessness and a Board who unanimously support what we’re trying to do.  Being a member of Homes for Cathy has certainly been instrumental in making that happen.

Andrew:

Being part of Homes for Cathy has also provided something for our development team to ‘sell’ to local authorities, allowing us to go in and talk to them about the need for more housing rather than temporary accommodation.  We’re able to say to local authorities ‘we’re here to support you’ and local councillors know that Broadland is fully committed.  Essentially it’s helped us cut through and sell our capability as a trusted partner to local authorities in the challenge to end homelessness.


One of the Homes for Cathy group’s founding members, Broadland Housing Association was formed in 1963 and built its first scheme, at Shipfield in Norwich, in 1967. Today it provides more than 5,000 quality homes across Norfolk and north Suffolk.

Everyone Out?

by Charlotte Murray, Director of Care, Health & Wellbeing, South Yorkshire Housing Association

The Government’s response to homelessness—particularly rough sleeping—when the first Covid-19 lockdown was announced was pretty amazing.  For the first time, the Government showed leadership in supporting homeless people and there was unity amongst people affected by homelessness, homelessness groups, local authorities, and housing associations.

In one weekend in March, all rough sleepers were offered housing.  No-one stopped to check immigration status, income levels or intentionality: everyone was offered a roof over their head.  Hotels, student halls of residence, and other shared accommodation were made available.  Some of it wasn’t ideal, but it was much better than the prospect of sleeping out, exposed to the pandemic.

Determination and sense of a common goal was maintained

In the months that followed, that determination and sense of a common goal was maintained.  It took many forms.  For example, civil servants began to shape programmes and new funding streams for permanent accommodation for homeless people, councils prioritised homelessness projects for nominations, and housing associations bent over backwards to provide a higher proportion of self-contained accommodation for these groups. 

It was Mahatma Gandhi who said: “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members.”  The test, though, isn’t what can be achieved in a crisis. It’s whether we can sustain our determination to end homelessness once and for all.

Short-term or one-off initiatives won’t cut it

This was the objective of Crisis’s brilliant report, Everybody In (2018).  The detail of its 250 pages means we need never ask ourselves again how we can end homelessness.  The report pulled together in one place best practice from around the world; we now know how to do it.  The report makes it clear that short-term or one-off initiatives won’t cut it.  There are many different causes of homelessness: poverty, mental illness, the lack of social housing and a dysfunctional housing market.  Initiatives have failed in the past because they adopt the ‘whack-a-mole’ approach, addressing an issue in one area for it to pop out somewhere else. 

Reports and announcements in recent weeks demonstrate that we’re relapsing back to a disjointed approach.  These include:

  • the debate regarding the possible termination of the additional Universal Credit payments of £20 per week
  • research by the New Economics Foundation warning that one third of the population will be living below the minimum socially acceptable standard of living by next Spring
  • the significant weakening of the eviction ban.
Crisis’ ‘Everybody In’ report pulls together best practice on homelessness

It’s not all bad news though.  There’s a clear Government commitment to provide access for rough sleepers to the vaccination programme.  The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has asked local authorities to ensure that homeless people can be protected from the virus and that they’re registered with GPs.  Local authorities have been asked to reach out once again to people who have previously refused their support.

One in four lettings by social landlords made to statutorily homeless

Similarly, recent HouseMark data shows over a quarter of social housing landlords are prioritising lettings to homeless people.  As a result, one in four lettings were made to households identified as statutorily homeless—equivalent to 9,000 households across the UK. The Next Steps Accommodation programme is increasing the number of homes and the support available to homeless people (for a maximum of two years, rather than a home for life but progress never the less).

SYHA's Cuthbert Bank supported accommodation houses homeless families in their own homes
SYHA’s Cuthbert Bank supported accommodation houses homeless families in their own homes

At SYHA, we’re keeping our voids work and lettings open to ensure we can house the most in need. We’re strictly following our ‘no evictions into street homelessness’ policy and working closely with local authorities to increase support and accommodation.

It sometimes feels like we’re standing on a street corner with a megaphone shouting, “Is anybody there?”  The leadership has gone.  SYHA and the other associations in the Homes for Cathy Group will continue to work in line with our values and commitments and challenge ourselves to do more, but we do need leadership, urgency—and, importantly, a long-term, joined up strategy.  The new Housing Minister, Eddie Hughes, reportedly brings with him a background in and “passion for” housing.  Great. Right now, we need someone with the vision and steady determination to continue the momentum built up in 2020. We are ready and waiting.


South Yorkshire Housing Association is a founding member of the Homes for Cathy group and offers safe and secure spaces for homeless people and families to live in.

Charity’s value for money proposal secures NSAP funding

Homes for Cathy’s charity members are playing a vital part in delivering safe, secure and affordable properties for people experiencing homelessness, thanks to successful bids for Next Steps Accommodation funding.  Homes for Cathy spoke to HARP Southend’s Director of Property Development, Nicky Houston, about the charity’s efforts to help homeless people in the town and how their Next Steps capital award will be used.

Tell us about HARP Southend and the work you do….

HARP is the leading Southend charity helping local people overcome homelessness.  We have 226 beds, all in Southend, of which we own 50 per cent, with the other 50 per cent owned by private landlords.  They’re all single occupancy, catering for the single homeless cohort that typically is not accepted as statutory homeless. Our aspiration is to increase the proportion of beds we own to 60 per cent, which is where I come in; a big part of my role is sourcing funding in order to develop our property portfolio. 

HARP helps over 1,000 people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness every year

What’s the local homelessness picture in Southend?

Southend is a popular seaside resort, with many people employed by the tourist industry in low paid, casual work.  It’s also a commuter town with direct links into London’s Fenchurch Street and Liverpool Street stations, which means property prices are very high compared to the average wage.  With limited social housing, a large private rented sector and unstable employment, many of our cohort slip through the cracks.  HARP Southend focuses on supporting three key groups – young people, women and those with complex needs – providing emergency housing and long-term solutions that enable people to rebuild their lives and live independently in the community.

How did your NSAP bid come about and what does it entail?

Our focus is very much on the local community and we work closely with Southend Borough Council, who encouraged us to come forward with recommendations as part of their overall bid.  This was an interesting aspect, in that the council had faith that we could deliver on our proposals.  In fact, we put in two bids, as we knew that the funding pot would be massively oversubscribed, and we felt it would increase our chance of getting at least one bid approved.  Although one of the bids – for a property refurbishment and remodelling – was turned down, fortunately our bid to purchase the property adjacent to two we already own was approved.  The £170k capital grant we have been awarded will enhance our existing plans to create 42 new units of single homeless accommodation, with the advantage that this will be part of an existing, well-supported project with an infrastructure and staffing already in place.  Essentially, we’ll be providing a lot more for the money.

HARP Southend’s Director of Property Development, Nicky Houston

Are there any challenges around delivering on your proposal, especially given the 31 March 2021 completion deadline?

We put in the bid on the basis that we would be able to acquire the three flats within the property. Luckily, as the bid formed part of a major project that was already secured, we’d had conversations with the flat owners over whether they would sell, although there we no guarantees until we knew we were getting the funding – essentially, you have to start committing on spec.

There was a question mark over one flat in particular and whether we could guarantee vacant possession by the end of March with all the lockdown restrictions, which was quite worrying.  Miraculously, all three owners have agreed to sell and we’re now going through the purchasing process.  However we’re having to turn everything round on a hairpin, especially given that we didn’t find out about the award until the end of October.  Fortunately, we’re not looking at major refurbishments, and we’re hoping to complete on two properties by the beginning of February and the third by the end of February.

Another challenge has come from the pandemic itself; we’ve been hit much more heavily than the first lockdown, with staff sickness meaning that we’ve had to postpone move-ins temporarily.  However, we’re hoping we’ll be able to start moving people again from the beginning of March.

What difference will the project make to the lives of people experiencing homelessness in Southend?

In terms of accommodation, we generally tend to look at bedsits, so we’re pretty confident and excited about being able to offer flats instead – they’re at such a premium but are the perfect solution for people for whom shared accommodation isn’t suitable.  We’ll be working with each individual to encourage them to go through our tenancy ready development programme incorporating life skills, budgeting and tenancy skills – so eventually they’ll be able to move out and move on to independent living following their time with us. 

What positives have you taken from the bid process?

We always had a good relationship with Southend Borough Council’s development team and this process has cemented that relationship while at the same time helping us to develop better relationships with other parts of the local authority. 

Our relationship with Homes England was also instrumental; they were very supportive when we had queries over whether we could deliver and instilled confidence in us that we could do it. 

Ultimately, it’s brilliant to be an integral part of the overall homelessness prevention programme for the area and to know that, as an organisation, we are able to offer rounded support for individuals while delivering value for money. 

BCHA unveils ambitious plans to deliver new properties for homeless with NSAP funding

Following the recent announcement of funding awards for the Government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP), Homes for Cathy has been catching up with members who have been involved in successful bids, to discover more about their plans to tackle homelessness.  In the first in our series of NSAP focused articles, we spoke to Martin Hancock, CEO of BCHA and one of the founding members of Homes for Cathy.

How did the pandemic impact on homelessness in your region?

BCHA works mainly in the Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole (BCP) area but also in Dorset, South Somerset and across Devon.  In terms of homelessness in the BCP area, the COVID situation highlighted a much bigger problem.  Whereas previously, there was a street count of around 70 to 80 people rough sleeping, during COVID the local authority suddenly needed to house another 200 people who were ‘hidden homeless’, sofa surfing or living in insecure accommodation – essentially people not living in homes of their own.  It became clear that there was a huge demand for additional accommodation in the main area in which we operate, but also to a lesser extent in places like Plymouth and Exeter.

Tell us more about the background to your NSAP bid…

The criteria for the bid was that it had to be co-produced and fortunately in the BCP area we were already part of a Homelessness Reduction Board set up by the local authority in 2019, involving a number of additional homelessness working groups.  The local authority was able to use these as a vehicle to get people round the table very quickly to start work on a bid.  The COVID situation really helped to consolidate a partnership working approach, which up until that point had only been in the early stages. The Plymouth Alliance already existed around homelessness services so helped in that area.

What particular challenges did you encounter?

For this first round of NSAP funding, there wasn’t a lot of time to put anything together. It was the middle of August and we had around two weeks to turn something around. This put huge pressure on councils, who had to work extremely hard to pull everything together, define exactly what they wanted and whether to bid for the short-term or longer-term programme.  BCHA put in a proposal for the short-term programme with an ambitious proposal to deliver 40 units in the BCP area, of which 25 were agreed by MHCLG, while BCP Council put in for 20 properties, of which 15 were approved.  We’re also delivering 17 more properties across Plymouth, Exeter and Dorset, with funding for 42 units in total. All by 31 March 2021 which is another big challenge of course but our teams are well on the way to achieving this outcome.

One of the most challenging aspects of the process was that the bid required us to submit a lot of detail about the actual properties. We picked street properties that we’d identified through discussions with local private developers, but we could only give the developers a verbal agreement until the funding was approved. 

In our case, 15 of the units we identified are in a brand new block, and a further five are refurbished properties that we negotiated with another developer.  The pressure is now on, particularly with the 15 new builds, and we’re going to be going to the wire to get the properties finished for 31 March 2021. 

Another issue is that this all happened at a time when the property market was quite buoyant, with government initiatives such as help to buy and no stamp duty resulting in a big rush of buyers – it is credit to our development team that we were able to negotiate competitive prices without being able to put formal contracts in place until now.

Did your bid involve revenue funding?

Yes, across the full bid, we were allocated funding for the equivalent of five workers across the 42 properties, essentially a one to 10 ratio of intensive work, which was a big positive.  The aim is for long-term stability for the cohort that needs much more intensive work.  The plan is for the newly appointed meaningful occupation support workers to develop a personalised programme for each tenant, coaching around confidence and self-esteem and upskilling them in areas such as IT to ensure they are not only ‘work ready’ but also ‘tenancy ready’ and can sustain a long-term tenancy.

While we recognise there is an expectation in this funding for people to move on from this housing, we would hope that if they are settled and haven’t been housed for many years they will be able to stay in the property for some time, otherwise there’s a danger you move people on and their tenancy fails. 

What were the key learnings?

The NSAP bid was an ideal opportunity to help end rough sleeping and achieve more on the social rent model; we felt that if you want people to be able to move away from rough sleeping, gain employment and be self-sufficient, the rent needs to be truly affordable.  Many of the jobs in the BCP area are in areas like hospitality, retail and care and therefore often around the national living and minimum wage levels, so you can’t charge someone £150 per week rent. Fortunately, the capital grant awarded is sufficient for BCHA to make a social rent model work, requiring only another £12k grant above the affordable rent levels along with extra capital funding from ourselves. 

The bid only happened because of people putting in a lot of time and energy.  In addition, because of the very short timeframe, we also had to rely on a lot of goodwill locally.  It has shown us that it is possible to work together and make things happen.  However, equally, it’s important to recognise who is best to deliver on certain aspects of a bid.  You also need to be pretty agile, as our experience shows.  Co-production is great, although there was a lot of time spent on co-ordination – direct contact with registered providers such as ourselves could maybe have speeded things up a little, given the time pressures.

What positives have you taken away from the process?

Having been through the process, it does feel possible to put an end to rough sleeping, although it is going to take more than 18 months.  The advisor team at MHCLG is clearly committed to making it happen and it is encouraging that they keen to hear feedback from housing associations such as ourselves, as the recent Homes for Cathy workshop with colleagues from the Ministry’s Rough Sleeping Unit proved.

The fact that we are already involved in homelessness as an organisation means that we could respond quickly, as the pathways were already in place, something that is underpinned by the Homes for Cathy commitments. 

The process proves the value of having homelessness strategies in place, not just housing strategies, and the need to foster a more joined up approach to housing ambition and tackling homelessness.

A year on, Hightown’s Housing First experience

It’s nearly been a year since Hightown began its Housing First project so we’ve caught up with Gemma Richardson, Head of Care and Supported Housing in Hertfordshire at Hightown, to find out how the project has been going and what the future holds.

What is Housing First?

Housing First is a housing and support approach which gives people who have experienced homelessness or repeat history of homelessness or rough sleeping and who have multiple and complex needs, a stable home from which to rebuild their lives. It provides intensive, person-centred, holistic support that is open-ended (defined by Homeless Link).

Hightown launched its pilot in October 2019 following the recruitment of new staff. The project has been going well, with eight people housed by the service with another two people being actively helped.  Two individuals are engaging with the Housing First team after years of rough sleeping and want to move into housing and receive the team’s support.

How has the pilot been going?

There have some positive stories from the people that have been helped so far, including Malcolm and Liana, featured in the video below. Have a listen to hear why Housing First is needed in addition to the other homelessness services that Hightown help to run. 

However, there have also been many points to learn from over the last year. For example, there have been a couple of individuals that have really struggled, since they have very complex needs. Finding the right Housing First offer for them in terms of both housing and support, is being reassessed. This is one of the key differences of this programme compared to other homelessness support as the housing and support given is very personalised so it may not be right straight away and changes may need to be made. The team are doing some very intensive work with a couple of individuals and working with all partners involved in the project including Homeless Link, the project management staff from Housing First England and Hightown’s local partners. Together we are trying to help them move forward and make sure they don’t return to the street

The programme takes a partnership approach, can you tell us more about this? 

The project is funded from Rough Sleeper Initiative (RSI) funding, which was awarded following a joint bid by Dacorum Borough Council and St Albans City Council. The partnership working with Dacorum Borough Council and St Albans City Council has been integral to developing the Housing First project.

There is a monthly Housing First panel which is made up of local homelessness charities, the local councils and Hightown. We exchange information, talk about who is engaging with the service, identify who needs to be helped and discuss which housing options are available. The panel act as our project managers and help us keep on track and check our performance.

What’s next for Housing First?

The current RSI funding for Housing First runs until March 2021. We hope that further funding will be made available so we can continue this important work. We are building our case to secure longer term funding, since we think Housing First should be an option for people across the county and the existing homelessness support isn’t going to fit everybody’s needs. There will always be some people who need more support than the day / night centres can offer. For some people night shelters and supported living cannot meet all their needs.

World Homeless Day 2020

World Homeless Day is a chance for our community and members to highlight the needs of homeless people.

We’ve partnered with South Yorkshire HA, Shared Health, One Housing, BCHA and Hightown HA across here and our social media channels today to help educate and celebrate the work being done by some of our members and partners.


South Yorkshire Housing Association

Mazrab came from Afghanistan in 2011 with his family as refugees. SYHA and his support worker Kay have helped the family settle in South Yorkshire.

Vic Stirling, Head of services for homeless services, answers some questions about the misconceptions around homelessness and where she would like extra funding to be spent.


Shared Health

Shared Health Foundation is an initiative of the Oglesby Charitable Trust,
which is seeking to tackle health inequalities across Greater Manchester. They shared the following from their call to action report.

The poorer the area, the greater the need and the lack quality healthcare available. Our families sometimes get placed in emergency accommodation that is out of borough and miles away from their families, communities, schools and GPs. They then can’t access the same resources as everyone else easily. 

The children in these families also don’t get the same rights as Looked After Children so don’t get any official extra help or support from schools. The help they do get is professionals going above and beyond.

Their situation from fleeing domestic violence affects their health and can set them back years as the ‘temporary accommodation’ can last up to 2 years.

Read more :
A Call to Action:
To safeguard homeless families during the Covid-19 pandemic
and in its aftermath

One Housing

Ahmed a customer at One Housing, tells us where he would like more government funding spent.


BCHA

BCHA want to say a big THANK YOU to all their staff and volunteers that have gone above and beyond this year to help those that are homeless, particularly when lockdown happened. Below is some of the help they offered to take on.

A senior practitioner from BCHA Bournemouth and Christchurch domestic abuse service has also shared how their residents battle isolation everyday but this year has been particularly testing.

Read more here.


Hightown Housing Association

It’s nearly been a year since Hightown began its Housing First project, Malcolm and Liana tell us how they have been helped by the service.

Read more about Hightown’s Housing First journey here.

The Bounce Back Project – No Going Back

No Going Back is an innovative pilot programme to break the cycle of reoffending.

Developed in partnership with the Livery Companies (see below) it will be delivered by the charity, Bounce Back who have 10 years’ experience of working with people in prisons and the community by providing training in construction and related skills and supporting them into sustainable employment.  https://www.bouncebackproject.com/

The remit is jobs in construction, the built environment and facilities management and we will be matching candidates to vacancies provided through the Livery Companies based on participants skills and interests.

No Going Back has astrong focus on housing and community integration. 

Alongside a tailored approach to training and intensive case management support, accommodation will be offered to those who do not have a suitable place to live – a unique aspect of this programme.  In addition, the project will support employers to recognise and maximise the economic benefits that come from recruiting this way to fill their vacancies.

The ambition is to demonstrate impact and swiftly scale the approach.

We are looking for housing partners so we can complete the final element of the programme.  The expectation is that, based on Government figures, 1 in 7 are likely to be leaving prison without housing.  With a target of assisting 40 people into employment during the pilot programme, we estimate that we will need no more than 10 units of housing during the coming year.

We currently only work in men’s prisons, mostly in London, including Brixton, Pentonville, Wandsworth and Isis and are about to start working in Coldingley prison in Surrey.  Most of our participants are single men of all age ranges who would require bedsit or one bed accommodation. We are very open to discussing referral pathways and assessment processes which meet the needs of individual housing providers. 

Our Engagement Managers, one of whom is a housing and resettlement specialist will work closely with housing providers to identify suitable participants who need housing and who are able to access the employment market. The expectation is that the participants will have relatively low support needs. They will continue to receive regular support from their Engagement Manager as well as any other agencies identified to meet a participant’s needs.  The Engagement Manager will stay with the participant on this journey and be available to respond to any issues which may arise regarding their housing, mental or physical health etc. This will include liaison with landlords.

 We are looking to work in genuine partnership with housing providers to better understand the housing landscape and how best to meet the needs of our participants. This will be a key aspect of the independent evaluation which is being conducted by Russell Webster, a leading authority on the Criminal Justice Sector and the prisons are hugely enthusiastic for this to go ahead. Everything will be done to prevent people returning to prison. 

Clearly Covidi9 has had significant impact on the way that the programme is going to be delivered – the prisons are still locked down, prisoner engagement is a challenge and the entire employment landscape has changed considerably.  However, both Bounce Back and the Livery Companies are determined that this programme can offer hope and opportunity to prison leavers.  To this end we are launching on 1 July, and will be exploring new and exciting ways to navigate the system to achieve success. 

We are breaking completely new ground and all parties, including the prisons, are ‘learning on the job’ to respond to this unique situation. 

We would be very happy to discuss the programme in more detail and explore how we can work in partnership to make this project a success which can then be scaled and replicated nationally. Our Project Leader is Paulette Howard Jackson who can be contacted on paulette@bouncebackproject.com and our Interim CEO is Frances Mapstone frances@bouncebackproject.com

*Note:  What are the Livery Companies? Livery Companies have a strong tradition of philanthropic giving.  As the original City of London ‘Guilds’ they are now at the heart of the business world in the City of London and include Haberdasher’s and Goldsmiths.  They give charities over £60m p.a. and have for some time provided funding specifically to enable offenders’ rehabilitation.  In the context of No Going Back, the Livery Companies are keen to broaden understanding with a wider audience including prisoners, housing partners, local authorities and the Corporates that will be engaged on the programme.  A number of people have never encountered the Livery and they hope to change this though this programme.

Get involved

Bounce Back Project

Covid-19: Homelessness, Rough Sleeping, the PRS

Submission from ‘Homes for Cathy Group’ to HCLG Select Committee inquiry

How effective has the support provided by MHCLG and other Government departments in addressing the impact of COVID-19 on those in the private rented sector, rough sleepers, and the homeless?

The Homes for Cathy group is made up of over 100 housing associations and housing charities/organisations who are committed to providing housing and support to homeless people and households and have developed nine Homes for Cathy commitments with the homeless charity, Crisis, which underpin our work.

This submission only relates to rough sleepers and homeless people.

The ‘Everyone In’ initiative has been a huge success in getting rough sleepers off the streets and in to temporary housing and the Government and the MHCLG must be congratulated.

Of course, it has required a massive effort from our members, from local government and from many other housing and support organisations to find accommodation and immediate support for the approximately 5,400 rough sleepers that were housed.

We now need to plan for how those 5,400 people will be permanently housed and supported and the key to this is capital funding to provide affordable housing and revenue funding to provide support.

What problems remain a current and immediate concern for these groups?

Clearly, the primary concern is for the long term future for those rough sleepers recently housed in temporary accommodation. We do not know when they will be asked to leave their current accommodation. There is no fixed ‘end date’ for lockdown. But individual hotels where many of the rough sleepers are housed will eventually want the rooms back.

Another concern, however, is the breakdown of many of the placements that were made. The Guardian has reported that 20% of those rehoused in Manchester are homeless once again, and our members are reporting similar figures in other parts of the country. South Yorkshire Housing Association in Sheffield found that many people rehoused have been targeted and “cuckooed” – typically by drug dealers and criminal groups. Providing the accommodation on its own is not sufficient. Many people need very intensive housing support, such as that provided by Housing First and similar schemes, and the consistent support of other public services such as mental health and drug and alcohol services.

Of course, the need to try to maintain ‘social distancing’ while providing support for the people in the temporary accommodation is a major challenge. Some clients are unwilling to fully cooperate putting staff and other clients at risk.

What might be the immediate post-lockdown impacts for these groups, and what action is needed to help with these?

Immediate action is needed to provide Government funding for the long term housing and support for the 5,400 rough sleepers people housed in temporary accommodation. Otherwise we will be back to square one and the Government’s targets on rough sleeping will not be met.

There is unlikely to be time to build new social/affordable homes from scratch so housing associations need capital funds from Government to:

  • Convert unsold shared ownership homes owned by housing associations to social/affordable rent
  • Convert shared ownership homes under construction and about to be handed over to housing associations to social/affordable rent
  • Convert unsold market sale properties owned by housing associations to social/affordable rent
  • Purchase properties on the open market including new, unsold homes from national and local housebuilders

The primary need will be for one bedroom self-contained flats. Ideally the funding will be sufficient for housing associations to charge social rents which will then reduce the housing benefit bill. The Homes for Cathy group is currently working to provide estimated costings for such a programme.

Homes for Cathy members already provide homelessness support services including Housing First.

It is essential that the housing provided to rough sleepers leaving the temporary accommodation comes with appropriate support services. Many of the rough sleepers have high support needs

Crisis estimate the cost of support for the estimated 5400 rough sleepers will be around £63,000,000 for 12 months and the Homes for Cathy group concurs with this estimate. Crisis estimate that 50% of the rough sleepers will require Housing First support, 30% will require Critical Time Intervention support and 20% will require floating support.

An early commitment from the Government to fund the supply of new social homes to house the 5,400 rough sleepers in temporary accommodation will allow housing associations to immediately gear up to convert tenures or purchase homes and be ready when the lock down ends.

COVID-19: Homelessness, Rough Sleeping, the PRS

Submission from ‘Homes for Cathy Group’ to HCLG Select Committee inquiry

How effective has the support provided by MHCLG and other Government departments in addressing the impact of COVID-19 on those in the private rented sector, rough sleepers, and the homeless?

The Homes for Cathy group is made up of over 100 housing associations and housing charities/organisations who are committed to providing housing and support to homeless people and households and have developed nine Homes for Cathy commitments with the homeless charity, Crisis, which underpin our work.

This submission only relates to rough sleepers and homeless people.

The ‘Everyone In’ initiative has been a huge success in getting rough sleepers off the streets and in to temporary housing and the Government and the MHCLG must be congratulated.

Of course, it has required a massive effort from our members, from local government and from many other housing and support organisations to find accommodation and immediate support for the approximately 5,400 rough sleepers that were housed.

We now need to plan for how those 5,400 people will be permanently housed and supported and the key to this is capital funding to provide affordable housing and revenue funding to provide support.

What problems remain a current and immediate concern for these groups?

Clearly, the primary concern is for the long term future for those rough sleepers recently housed in temporary accommodation. We do not know when they will be asked to leave their current accommodation. There is no fixed ‘end date’ for lockdown. But individual hotels where many of the rough sleepers are housed will eventually want the rooms back.

Another concern, however, is the breakdown of many of the placements that were made. The Guardian has reported that 20% of those rehoused in Manchester are homeless once again, and our members are reporting similar figures in other parts of the country. South Yorkshire Housing Association in Sheffield found that many people rehoused have been targeted and “cuckooed” – typically by drug dealers and criminal groups. Providing the accommodation on its own is not sufficient. Many people need very intensive housing support, such as that provided by Housing First and similar schemes, and the consistent support of other public services such as mental health and drug and alcohol services.

Of course, the need to try to maintain ‘social distancing’ while providing support for the people in the temporary accommodation is a major challenge. Some clients are unwilling to fully cooperate putting staff and other clients at risk.

What might be the immediate post-lockdown impacts for these groups, and what action is needed to help with these?

Immediate action is needed to provide Government funding for the long term housing and support for the 5,400 rough sleepers people housed in temporary accommodation. Otherwise we will be back to square one and the Government’s targets on rough sleeping will not be met.

There is unlikely to be time to build new social/affordable homes from scratch so housing associations need capital funds from Government to:

  • Convert unsold shared ownership homes owned by housing associations to social/affordable rent
  • Convert shared ownership homes under construction and about to be handed over to housing associations to social/affordable rent
  • Convert unsold market sale properties owned by housing associations to social/affordable rent
  • Purchase properties on the open market including new, unsold homes from national and local housebuilders

The primary need will be for one bedroom self-contained flats. Ideally the funding will be sufficient for housing associations to charge social rents which will then reduce the housing benefit bill. The Homes for Cathy group is currently working to provide estimated costings for such a programme.

Homes for Cathy members already provide homelessness support services including Housing First.

It is essential that the housing provided to rough sleepers leaving the temporary accommodation comes with appropriate support services. Many of the rough sleepers have high support needs

Crisis estimate the cost of support for the estimated 5400 rough sleepers will be around £63,000,000 for 12 months and the Homes for Cathy group concurs with this estimate. Crisis estimate that 50% of the rough sleepers will require Housing First support, 30% will require Critical Time Intervention support and 20% will require floating support.

An early commitment from the Government to fund the supply of new social homes to house the 5,400 rough sleepers in temporary accommodation will allow housing associations to immediately gear up to convert tenures or purchase homes and be ready when the lock down ends.