Since the age threshold for the Shared Accommodation rate was raised to thirty five our Private Rented Sector Access Scheme has struggled to house anyone under that age without an exemption. This has meant we regularly have to turn away homeless young men and women seeking our help.
We have in the past tried to place people in shared accommodation but the vulnerable nature of our clients has made this challenging. To address this challenge we have collaborated with a new charity called Humanity Homes to create a hostel where we can provide ongoing support to those we house there.
On 11th January the new a four bed hostel opened and we are now able to offer beds and support to young people who we have previously been unable to help. Our first residents moved in last week, four young men, three of whom have been rough sleeping or sofa surfing for many years and another who would have become street homeless last week when his hostel licence expired. The hostel is in fact an end of terrace house in Ealing, with a big kitchen, four large rooms, and a garden. It is much more like a home than a traditional hostel.
We will be providing wide ranging support, helping residents to adapt to a more settled way of life, giving hands on assistance with benefits claims, development of personal communication skills, accessing ways to enhance employability and learning to manage their money efficiently.
After 6 months residents will, it is hoped, be ready for independent living, and our PRS scheme will assist them in finding their own place. This is an exciting new development and will undoubtedly be of enormous benefit to a cohort for whom opportunities in life have been scant or non-existent.