Company and council working together to break the cycle of homelessness

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More than 460 homeless people and families have been housed in private sector lettings across Derbyshire in the past five years, thanks to a collaboration between Adullam Homes and local councils who are working together to break the cycle of homelessness.

Adullam Homes has enjoyed a long standing partnership with High Peak Borough and Staffordshire Moorlands District Councils to provide better access to Private Sector Lettings (PRS) for vulnerable individuals and families who struggle to secure or sustain their accommodation, due to a variety of factors, including, low self-confidence, lack of resources or previous failed tenancies.

For homeless people who are low priority for social housing there are few alternative options besides those offered by the private rented sector. However, many homeless people lack essential life skills to secure and keep a private letting and some landlords consider the risk too high to allow those with historic problems to take up a tenancy, leaving vulnerable groups in a cycle of homeless.

Adullam Homes, specialist provider of housing and support services, hopes to break the cycle of homelessness with its supportive Bond Scheme to tackle the problem head-on. Adullam’s Bond Scheme has already broadened housing opportunities for 332 single homeless people and 135 families in the past five years and offers support to vulnerable people who just need extra guidance to succeed in living independently by actively helping tenants with the initial start-up of securing a private sector letting with a minimum of six month assured shorthold tenancy for individuals and couples, and a 12 month tenancy for families, both with a bond equivalent to one month’s rent.

The Bond Scheme supports tenants once they have moved into a private rental property assisting them to run a household, pay bills and maintain the property. As the support is ongoing the likelihood of permanent tenancy is significantly higher and the possibility of eviction or a failed tenancy reduced, which is better for landlords as well as for the tenants.

Adullam also created the ‘Prepare to Place’ programme as part of the Bond Scheme to support the most vulnerable individuals who have fallen through the net and require a higher level of support than the Bond Scheme provides. ‘Prepare to Place’ is a one-to-one service and has successfully broken the cycle of repeated tenancy failure and subsequent homelessness for 136 vulnerable people since 2012.

Alison Gilbride, Project Worker for Adullam, works with homeless people in the area: “Securing decent and stable accommodation is a turning point in a homeless person’s life, enabling them to get back into employment or feel part of society again. Lives have been dramatically transformed and one man I helped had previously lived in a tent, did not have a job or benefits, and the Bond Scheme helped him get back on his feet and have a roof over his head. I am proud to be involved in such an important initiative to help homeless people in the local area.”

Gillian Priest became homeless due to leaving a job with a live-in position: “Being homeless impairs your ability to obtain employment and the Bond Scheme allowed me to have a home so I could more presentable for interviews. Being homeless cripples you and makes you lose your identity, detaches you from friends and families, and now my life is restored.

“The project worker helped me to organise my life and helped with the landlord. The Bond scheme can help others without permanent accommodation, whatever the reason, it can help with the legalities, paperwork, and furniture; most importantly it help you find a renewed sense of purpose.”

Tracey Worth, Lettings Manager at Investpower Ltd in Buxton supports the Bond Scheme: “Our Company has over 40 properties within the area of Buxton and I work very closely with Adullam when housing vulnerable people.

“Its service provides me with the knowledge that someone caring has taken the ‘tenants personal issues’ and supported them to make sensible decisions about moving into a home. The continued support it offers once in the property means that I am confident the tenant will not get into trouble financially or personally.

“I make it the rule that if the tenant is not self-sufficient but accesses support from Adullam Housing, I will accept them as a tenant. The work it does is necessary and supportive of those less fortunate and keeps individuals and families together and on track to a successful lifestyle.”

Susan Wolton, Regional Manager from Adullam Homes, High Peaks and Derbyshire Dales, is proud of the support offered: “The Bond Scheme and Prepare to Place have successfully secured long-term tenancies for over 600 households, and Adullam is proud of its excellent working relationships with local authorities, landlords and tenants, as together we are tackling homelessness head-on and securing homes for local vulnerable people who simply need a boost to help them find and keep a home of their own.”