Dean McGlynn, External Affairs manager of the National Housing Federation asks for your support for Starts at Home Day.
The National Housing Federation's (NHF) annual Starts at Home Day returns on 1st September to celebrate the work of supported housing providers and to campaign for better and more sustainable funding for housing-related support. This is to ensure that vital services can continue to help and support those that need them most.
Over the past 12 months we’ve seen funding cuts in some local authority areas for non-statutory homelessness services, so it’s as important as ever to ensure that our stakeholders and funders understand the essential role of supported housing in preventing and reducing homelessness.
For this campaign, we’re encouraging organisations up and down the country to get involved. We want MPs and Councillors to be invited to visit their services and see their impact first-hand - and also to understand the significant pressure they’re under with rising costs and an increasing need for support.
What impact does supported housing have on homelessness?
Supported housing comes in many forms and assists thousands of people out of crisis or emergency situations into more long-term accommodation that enables them to live independently and with dignity.
Earlier this year, the NHF published research carried out by Imogen Blood Associates and the University of York that found that the supported housing sector is vital in preventing and reducing homelessness. If it weren't for supported housing, 41,000 more people would be homeless and a further 30,000 people at risk of homelessness.
This research also found that supported housing was successful in supporting people out of homelessness and preparing them to live independently. However, there are still significant barriers preventing people from moving on from supported housing. It was found that 53% of service users who are ready to move on can’t, due to a lack of suitable and affordable accommodation available.
We need a long-term plan for housing
The NHF also recently launched a report into why we need a long-term plan for housing. With rough sleeping increasing, 130,000 children currently in temporary accommodation, and supported housing residents in need of permanent move-on accommodation, we’re calling on the government to put a plan in place to increase supply of social housing to meet the country’s housing need and reduce unprecedented levels of homelessness.
Only with a long-term, strategic approach to housing and support can we ensure that the sector can continue to support people experiencing any form of homelessness into secure, long-term housing.
This is why the Starts at Home campaign is calling on the government to:
- Ring-fence and increase long-term funding revenue for housing-related support, and ensure it matches, or exceeds, the £1.6bn per year allocated to English local authorities in 2010.
- Reinstate the £300m Housing Transformation Fund, to ensure that social care and supported housing are integrated.
- Commit to investment in social housing to make sure residents who move on from supported housing have a safe, affordable place to live.
Celebrating supported housing
Any organisation can take part in the campaign – the NHF website features graphics and templates for you to support our calls for a better-resourced supported housing sector that helps and supports people out of homelessness.
Starts at Home Day offers the housing and homelessness sectors an ideal opportunity to come together as a collective and celebrate the outstanding work they do. Together, alongside HomelessLink’s Keep Our Doors Open campaign, we can ensure that local politicians understand the pressures facing providers ahead of the general election and that they prioritise investing in supported housing.
To find out more about the Starts at Home Day campaign please visit https://startsathome.org.uk/