Finding yourself without a home is a frightening experience and something that can happen for a variety of reasons that none of us are immune to – losing a job, a breakdown of a key relationship or losing a tenancy can all lead to homelessness, and our chances of finding ourselves in this situation is heightened if more than one of the three broad reasons above happen simultaneously. Rates of homelessness in the UK have been steadily rising since 2010.
Freedom Community Alliance work with the Housing Options Team in North Devon (01271 388870) and Torridge (01237 428849) on a variety of different projects.
We have a number of different housing initiatives which you can support by becoming directly involved, donating to or volunteering services for.
‘A breakdown of my family left me homeless and sofa-surfing for 16 years. I knew I had to change but I needed help to move on. Friends suggested I visit Freedom and that they might be able to help me, so I came, not expecting much. But their help has been wonderful and first class! I was helped to find accommodation within 2 weeks of visiting the centre and they gave me back my future. I now feel excited and confident about my life moving forwards.’ Homeless Client
We believe that a multi-agency, joined up response to people’s needs is what works best, which is why we host a regular Housing Hub meeting at the Freedom Centre. This is chaired by North Devon Council and also attended by Torridge Council, Sanctuary Supported Housing, Encompass SouthWest, Alabare, Julian House, Police, Probation, RISE, Health, Adult Social Care and of course ourselves.
These meetings enable the various organisations across North Devon to adopt an integrated approach to an individual’s support needs. The panel shares information about those sleeping rough and make decisions on accommodation placements through informed multi agency input.
This work directly supports our other projects – M.O.V.E and Bridging the Gap – and links into the daily Engage Community hub which provides a ‘one-stop shop’ for those with multiple and complex needs.
‘I lost my family due to a relationship breakdown, and also my home in the split. My life was a mess and I became very lonely and reclusive. I was sleeping rough and had basically given up on life. People in the same situation as me told me about Freedom Centre, when I came along I was amazed at the friendliness and support from all the staff – they made me feel part of a community again and helped me find my own accommodation. I now live in a lovely quiet cottage in the countryside, I’m human again. All thanks to the Freedom Centre, whom I will be ever grateful to.’ – PRS Access client
One of the ways we help people resolve their homelessness is by helping them secure accommodation in the Private Rented Sector. Typically we work with people to identify, secure and sustain appropriate accommodation. We work with private landlords and agents often acting as a middle man in the process. We provide pre and post tenancy support and will ensure the accommodation is affordable and suitable for a persons needs. If needed we can assist in making funding applications for RIA (Rent in Advance) and Deposits.
Local landlords can help us by either working with us to house vulnerable clients or by leasing their property to us to be used by Freedom Housing.
In addition to housing clients in the Private Rented Sector we also provide a range of supported accommodation through Freedom Housing.
Freedom Housing properties are typically leased from their owners on 3 or 5 year contracts and we pay a guaranteed monthly rent, take care of all bills, maintenance and repairs.
To ensure we are able to meet the wide range of local need we have some properties that accept referrals for people straight off the street and others that are zero tolerance dry houses for people in recovery from addiction. All residents have a support worker and a support plan and we work with them on their journey to independent living.
Whether someone is accommodated in Freedom Housing or in Private Rented Accommodation we help and encourage them to reintegrate and positively contribute to their local community – something that is good for all of us – with employment experience and volunteering support, skills building and a tailored plan to help them stand on their own.
If you are interested in becoming part of the solution to homelessness and social exclusion in North Devon, please get in touch with Phil Noall – firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office on 01271 321171.
I wake up every day looking forward to my future. I appreciate the help and support I receive from the Freedom Centre. I now know that those involved in my recovery process never gave up on me, I am eternally grateful, I have also begun to accept myself and I believe my life has just begun. – Freedom Housing client