Homeless Link with Housing Justice have managed the Homlessness Transformation Fund (formerly Winter Transformation Fund) on behalf of the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities (DLUHC) since 2020 to enable community and faith groups to develop accommodation options that are self-contained, Covid-secure and dignified, to be ready for people sleeping rough.
For the winter of 2021 the Homelessness Transformation Fund included £1 million of capital and £2 million of revenue, and was managed by Homeless Link in partnership with Housing Justice. This year’s fund builds upon our combined work of the past two years (£1.1million in 2019/20 and £2.4million in 2020/21). The evaluation of the 20/21 fund can be found here (TO BE ADDED). It helped enable small-to-medium homelessness charities, community and faith groups and voluntary sector organisations to transform their winter services for people sleeping rough in response to the requirements of these individuals and the need to move away from communal sleeping arrangements as a result of Covid-19.
63 grants have been awarded to Homelessness organisations across England. Organisations range considerably in their size and offer. Grants are being spent on organisational activities that ensure better quality provision and will support innovative models for support and move on.
There was a strong competition for the grants a high number of agencies keen to develop and transition their services to improve how they respond to homelessness. Organisations who were successful demonstrated exceptional best practice and truly transformative pieces of work that will make significant impact over the Winter period.
Revenue grants range in nature, from funding to support the cost of paying for hotel rooms with ensuite bathrooms, to staff time to provide 1:1 support and to rent and utilities for a shared house.
For example, a Revenue grant of £89,430 was awarded to InHope in Bristol. This grant will offer another step on the journey for a communal night shelter to move to higher quality provision. The grant will transform InHope’s two night shelters (Spring of Hope; Bristol Churches Winter Night Shelter), from dormitory and rotating shelters, into secure, single room provision offering a total of 12 beds throughout the winter period.
Capital grants also ranged in nature, from funding to purchase a 5-bedroom HMO property, to taking several bedrooms out of service and subdividing them to create en-suite bathrooms.
For example, a Capital grant of £83,299 was awarded to King’s Arms Project in Bedford. This grant supported the transformation of a property they currently lease enabling them to reconfigure it to allow them to run a hybrid service offering direct emergency access and longer-term residential support under the same roof. They will be adding an additional 3 extra bedrooms to a property they currently use as a shared house for 8 individuals with low support. The reconfiguration of the building would allow then to them to divide the property up according to demand at any one time, enabling a combination of either 3, 4 or 7 of the rooms to be used as direct access rooms at any one time. This reconfiguration will enable them to provide high quality accommodation in the winter months and then convert the use of the rooms back to longer term low support accommodation for the rest of the year.
This year's grants are just being finalised and then an evaluation report will be published here. There has been no announcement yet from DLUHC regarding funding for winter 2022-23.