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Working together to combat homelessness

Posted on 17 October 2019

Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is playing a vital role in preventing homelessness in the region. 

Housing associations are well-known for providing rented affordable homes and building new ones but their role in supporting local authorities to prevent homelessness and to provide accommodation and specialist services is perhaps less well-known. 

According to a National Housing Federation and the Local Government Association report, Housing associations and councils working together to end homelessness, published in October 2019, homelessness acceptances by councils in England increased by 48% between 2009/10 and 2017/18. 

There has been a 250% increase in the use of bed and breakfast accommodation since 2010 and rough sleeping is up an estimated 165%. Councils’ homelessness services face cost pressures of £104 million each year, due to demand and inflation alone, the report says. 

Housing associations have always seen the provision of accommodation to those in greatest need as core to their central purpose. The supply of homes to those in the greatest need is fundamental. 

The housing associations that have come together to form Homes for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough supply hundreds of homes every year to those that are homeless or that are threatened with homelessness. For some, more than a third of vacant properties will be let in this way. 

However, their contribution does not end there. Housing associations provide highly specialised support targeting the complex issues associated with homelessness. This includes direct access homeless hostels, supported accommodation for those ready to take the first steps to a fully independent sustainable tenancy and rough sleeper services. They also provide a range of services to help those in high risk groups where homelessness is a very real prospect, such as women fleeing domestic violence, people facing life debilitating health problems (including mental health issues) and ‘looked after’ children. 

A settled home is the bedrock for family life, ensuring everyone reaches their full potential. We are proud of our vital contribution and look forward to working with our partners in combating this scourge of modern times.