At ForViva we have put tackling homelessness at the forefront of all our work.
Our approach is focused on preventing homelessness before it happens and building strong partnerships with both individuals and organisations passionate about improving lives.
At the centre of our plans has been the launch of forfutures – a new part of the ForViva Group dedicated to supporting people who are at risk of becoming homeless, those without secure accommodation, and rough sleepers.
In April 2018, forfutures began delivering homeless support services for Cheshire West and Chester Council, bringing together a number of services into one coordinated approach.
The team provides dedicated street outreach support for rough sleepers and specialist services including a mediation scheme which can help rebuild links between family members to prevent homelessness before it happens.
Other initiatives include health and wellbeing support and advice hubs run throughout Cheshire.
Forfutures is already making a significant impact. Between April and October 2018, 49 people secured a new home, we worked with 92 people though our outreach support to enable them to move indoors and 279 people received support to prevent them losing their homes.
Developing specialist accommodation
In Salford we are investing £3.5 million in 44 homes specifically for those at risk of homelessness.
The development will be the first of its kind in the North West and will see our forfutures team work with tenants over a two-year period to link them to training and long-term employment.
These new homes are part of our commitment to the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s “A Bed Every Night” initiative – which aims to make sure nobody needs to sleep rough in Greater Manchester.
ForViva is taking action to tackle the root cause of homelessness by addressing the housing crisis – committing to building a further 540 new homes across the North West by 2020.
Across the Group, we are working with partners on a range of initiatives to prevent homelessness before it happens.
We are supporting the Salford Rough Sleeper Project, which is being run by Salford Council, by providing vital access to ten homes for temporary accommodation.
We also worked with the council on the Annual Salford Rough Sleepers Count, with our team providing advice and guidance to rough sleepers throughout the night.
With our help, the count will paint a true picture of the scale of the homelessness challenge in Salford and focus future resources and support in the right areas.
Working with Next Step, the leaving care service for Salford, we have developed a ‘Resettlement Passport’ that offers extensive pre-tenancy training to young people leaving care. Many people leaving the care service can find themselves without secure accommodation or unsure of how to secure a home of their own.
A total of 80% of people taking part in the scheme said it improved their confidence in managing their tenancies and six have gone on to find homes with ForViva.
Our work with the National Probation Service (NPS) and Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC) is empowering people leaving the prison service to improve their chances of securing and sustaining tenancies.
We have developed a series of new working protocols that are setting standards for other landlords to follow.
The £1.8 million Social Impact Bond, part of the Greater Manchester Homes Partnership, will see ForViva offer 20 properties alongside intense support for Greater Manchester’s most entrenched rough sleepers.
In November 2018, a group of 17 staff at ForViva took part in the Manchester Sleepout to raise more than £2,700 for The Booth Centre, the Manchester-based homelessness charity.
Helping people sustain their tenancies is vital to preventing homelessness.
In the last two years 400 people have accessed our Tenancy Sustainment Service.
The service is helping keep people in their homes, with 99% of those accessing the service maintaining their tenancies 12 months after support from our team ended.
Last year, our income maximisation team worked with 308 tenants to increase their income by an average of £951 per person, while more than 7,000 Discretionary Housing Payments and backdated housing benefit payments were received.
Through our money advice service in Cheshire West and Chester we’ve secured more than £682,000 in extra income for tenants, reduced rent arrears by £53,000 and reduced evictions by 48% compared to the previous financial year.