St Martins has received funding to provide tenancy training for 32 people to aid the prevention of homelessness.
The £9,785 funding award comes from Hopestead, a local charity which is committed to ending homelessness in the East of England.
St Martins works hard to support people experiencing homelessness. Once a person moves on from St Martins’ services into a home of their own, it is crucial that they have the skills and experience to retain their accommodation and not slip back into homelessness. Within the first year, many tenancies fail, which can be devastating for the tenants and increases the demand for homeless services. Local councils, housing associations and landlords are faced with eviction costs and problems associated with a failed tenancy.
Why do so many tenancies fail?
- Having insufficient independent living skills, including not looking after their property
- Not having enough household furniture and equipment combined with insufficient funds to equip the household
- Difficulties in learning to budget, which can lead to rent arrears
- Delays or difficulties in claiming benefits
- Feelings of isolation in a new neighbourhood, particularly if a person is living some distance from family and friends
- Suffering from antisocial behaviour and harassment
- A lack of tenancy support
St Martins says it doesn’t have to be this way; with the right support and skills, people can flourish in their new tenancies and feel confident about their rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
Lucy Bone Head of Community Services at St Martins said, “We have been extremely fortunate to receive this funding. It gives us the opportunity to deliver training to the people we support to develop the skills needed to live independently in a safe and secure environment and to feel confident they can sustain this in the future.”
The funding from Hopestead will enable St Martins to run tenancy courses tailored to the needs of people. Subjects covered include health and hygiene, personal money management, preparing to be a good tenant and neighbour and how to plan to move to a new home. The courses are accredited by the Open College Network. A more intensive course will be offered to people who have had failed tenancies in the past, for example people who have a long history of anti-social behaviour issues and difficulties in manging budgets and paying bills.
St Martins are experienced at providing this training; between 2017 and 2019, 55 people successfully completed the training and moved on to secure their own tenancies.
Marie-Claire Delbrouque, CEO of Hopestead said, “We are delighted to be able to provide support to local charities and organisations, such as St Martins, through our Hope Funds initiative. We’re always looking for opportunities to work in partnership with likeminded organisations, so that we can end homelessness together.