Croydon Council and its partners have now housed six people so far in a scheme providing long-term accommodation and support for up to 20 vulnerable rough sleepers.
The six people now have their own home in the borough and are receiving specialist care as part of an ongoing council scheme to keep former rough sleepers off the streets and lead more “fulfilling lives”.
The project is based on the principles of Housing First, in which homeless people receive accommodation on the sole condition that they “maintain their tenancy”, rather than needing to meet more detailed criteria.
According to Housing First, this means the person can settle into their accommodation, get the support they need and become less likely to return to the streets.
The first flat, a one-bedroom property in Upper Norwood, became available in December and an additional five flats across the borough are now being used for the council scheme, which has funding to accommodate 10 people by the end of March 2019 – plus a further 10 homes from April 2019 to March 2020.
As well as getting their own accommodation and help with sourcing furniture, the council-led project allows each tenant to be supported by a key worker to help them access “a range of support services”, including health and wellbeing, drug treatment if necessary, help with skills and employability, training, and benefits.
The accommodation includes a combination of council, private sector, and housing association properties.
The project, carried out with partners including Thames Reach, has been funded as part of a council bid last year for over £500,000 from the government’s rough sleeping initiative.
Councillor Alison Butler, Croydon Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services, said: “Housing First is about really changing people’s lives for the better – it gives them a decent roof over their heads and specialist support to prevent a return to sleeping rough.
“This is all about giving former rough sleepers an improved, more independent future, and I look forward to continuing to work with our partners to improve outcomes for even more of our residents.”
Thames Reach manager Jakub Turek added: “The current tenants have quickly become settled and are excited to explore their options for the future, whether that’s volunteering, rehab, training or employment.
“Our key workers are a vital part of the journey, and support people using a flexible step-by-step approach, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to progress at a pace which is right for them.”