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Homeless people in Hull campaign to protect and celebrate supported housing

Homeless people in Hull campaign to protect and celebrate supported housing

“If the government cuts funding, they’ll be killing a lot of people”.

These are the words of a homeless man who is backing the national ‘Starts at Home’ campaign.

The campaign, led by the National Housing Federation, aims to push the Government to keep investing in supported housing, following its recent announcement that the benefits system will continue to fund all supported housing.

Daryl Peachy is one of 30 residents who lives at The Orchard in Hull, one of our many supported housing schemes, developed in partnership with Hull City council and homeless charity Emmaus Hull and East Riding.

Starts at Home day (31st August) promotes the vital role that supported housing plays, offering a supportive environment to many older and vulnerable people, both to maintain their independence to live in their own home or regain confidence and develop life skills to move into a home of their own and cope with living independently.

Together Housing helped secure a major win with the Government’s recent announcement that rent funding for all types of supported housing schemes is to remain in the welfare system which will ensure that supported housing residents will continue to have a secure and stable home.  This gives organisations like ourselves more certainty to develop further schemes which are much needed to meet growing demand.

Schemes such as The Orchard provide accommodation together with support to homeless people, many of whom have endured the horrors of sleeping on the streets. It is a greatly valued place, offering a settled home, with access to education, training and employment for people to help them rebuild their lives within the local community.

As with all Emmaus schemes across the country, residents at The Orchard, known as companions, are required to work a minimum of 40 hours per week in return for a roof over their head, food and a daily allowance. The community is supported by a social enterprise including a cafe and retail space which sells upcycled household goods.

Daryl Peachy 3

Companions are able to claim Housing Benefit to help pay their rent; however, over the last couple of years, there has been a huge amount of uncertainty about how the rents would be paid in the future. Not only did this mean much uncertainty for current schemes, it also meant that much-needed new developments were stalled.  

The Government’s announcement that the rent funding for all types of supported housing schemes is to remain in the welfare benefit system, is a welcome victory for the sector but there is still work to be done. The Government needs assurance around the value-for-money of supported housing and many schemes still face financial challenges around funding for the support services.

The Government also announced its intention to review funding for the support services in supported housing, which is already under huge pressure. As part of the Starts at Home campaign, we have written to MPs across Yorkshire, urging them to champion supported housing in Parliament.

As part of the campaign, Daryl is urging the government to continue to protect the funding for supported housing schemes, given the vital role they play for those who live there as well as to the public purse.

“Those who are in charge of the funding need to experience homelessness for themselves. Spend some time on the street, it’s hard and it’s scary. Every day above ground is not necessarily a good day.

“If there are funding cuts, it will kill a lot of people. If it wasn’t for this place, I’d have drunk myself to death.”

Daryl Peachy landscape 1

Sue Lewis, Head of Supported Housing at Together Housing Group, commented that it is as important as ever to continue demonstrating the quality and value of supported housing services.

She said: “After listening to the sector’s concerns which were also shared by many Local Authority partners, we were delighted to receive the government’s announcement that it is withdrawing its proposals around changes to the rent funding model, confirming that the rents will continue to be paid through the Housing Benefit  system.

“Like so many supported housing providers, we welcomed the great news, including that there is also to be a review of the funding for the support services that comes from local Councils. Support services are vital to the success of supported housing and has endured a lot of cuts over the last few years.  

“We remain committed to continuing to play our part to raise the understanding of the value of supported housing schemes to help safeguard the future for the thousands of people who live in and benefit so much from supported housing. ”

David Orr, Chief Executive at the National Housing Federation, said: “Supported housing provides a safe and secure home that helps people to live independently and to achieve their aspirations.

“Our Starts at Home campaign has never been more critical in showcasing the sector’s fantastic work but also in showing Government why services providing support to vulnerable people should be given secure and sustainable funding for years to come.”

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