Safe, comfortable accommodation is essential for ensuring vulnerable people are able to progress to independence, stable recovery and reduces the risk of recidivism.
On World Homelessness Day, here are seven tips for creating successful accommodation schemes form Forward’s Resettlement Service Manager, Tara Moore.
1. Identify support needs
It is crucial to identify clients’ needs at assessment stage, so you can tailor support accordingly. This enables you to work together to address the main barriers to their becoming independent, reducing the risk of future homelessness.
2. Provide pre- and ongoing tenancy sustainment support
Clients will need help to develop the knowledge and skills needed to gain and successfully sustain their tenancies independently. This can include being a good neighbour, setting up utilities and benefits advice, reporting repairs, paying rent, managing disputes and learning to clean and keep areas tidy. In addition, ‘making a house a home’ is important. That’s why at Forward, we provide move in packs and smart phones to our clients to ensure they are comfortable, have the basics they require and can communicate effectively.
3. Work on effective communication
A successful tenancy relies on good honest communication from a tenant to their landlord and vice versa, in order to effectively manage issues and challenges that arise. In addition, communication between landlords and partners, including charities and local authorities, are key to maintaining standards, keeping up to date with policies and supporting and local initiatives.
4. Ensure partners understand your client groups
It’s important that referral partners and landlords understand the specific needs of your client groups. This helps manage their expectations and can work with you to ensure the right support, accommodation and facilities are in place. We foster positive communication with our partners, and provide opportunities for them to better understand our clients through training, updates and regular meetings.
5. Provide quality accommodation
Too many tenancies fail because of substandard living conditions. If you wouldn’t want to live there, your clients won’t either. This can have major impact on their quality of life and wellbeing, increasing the risk of problems like relapse or recidivism.
6. Measure their progress
Once clients have set a goal, you’ll need to measure their progress towards developing the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to achieve it. Otherwise you risk withdrawing support before clients are ready, increasing the risk of failure. We use the Wellness Tracker which provides wellbeing measures, which we review regularly through our mentoring and Tenancy support
7. Focus on empowerment
The end goal should always be to enable clients to be independent and sustain their own tenancies!
If you’re a landlord, housing provider or you work with vulnerable groups, contact Tara Moore to explore working with Forward to provide accommodation at firstname.lastname@example.org