New homelessness support service launched

Release issued by Isle of Wight Council in conjunction with The Salvation Army, Southern Housing Association and Two Saints.

The Isle of Wight Council has underlined its bold and ambitious vision to end homelessness on the Island by announcing a new multi-partner service.

The £1.4 million per year service will specifically target single people experiencing homelessness and offer a wide range of accommodation options and support tailored to their needs.

By working closely with The Salvation Army, Southern Housing Association, Sovereign and Two Saints, the council aims to plot 'housing pathways' to get rough sleepers off the streets and into a place they can call home.

Councillor Clare Mosdell, Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and housing needs, said: "We are really excited to announce this new, modern service supporting those experiencing homelessness.

"We have taken a new approach, building on the relationships between organisations and the wider system, and asking them to share responsibility for helping people to achieve their aspirations and recover from homelessness.

"The service will help the council towards its aspiration to end homelessness and ensure everyone on the Isle of Wight has a place to call home."

Each organisation has been provided under a five year contract with an option to extend for a further two years.This will enable organisations from within the pathway and across the system to focus on working together to get the best possible services.

Jamie Brenchley, the council's service manager for housing needs and homelessness, said: "At a time when affordable housing on the Isle of Wight is very difficult to access, it is vital that services are better matched to people's needs and that we are doing all we can to encourage independence for residents, enabling them to move more quickly into mainstream housing as their support needs are met."

Naomi Keyte, head of service at Southern Housing Group, said: "Southern Housing Group has been providing care, support and housing to Island communities for over 30 years.

"We are thrilled to be a part of this new dynamic partnership and supporting the Isle of Wight Council to deliver its strategic ambition for those most in need to reach their goals and find a place to call home."

Hayley Territt, contract and performance manager at Two Saints, said: "Two Saints are delighted to be delivering services to rough sleepers, and people who find themselves homeless.

"Our services will include outreach, Housing First and supported accommodation. We look forward to working with the Isle of Wight Council, and other providers to deliver sustainable housing solutions which aim to end rough sleeping and homelessness.” 

Rachel Lee, from The Salvation Army’s Homelessness Services Unit, said: “Homelessness can happen to anyone for reasons including a lack of affordable housing, unemployment and poverty.

"The Salvation Army understands this and has been supporting people out of homelessness for more than 150 years. Our services on the Isle of Wight include Fellowship House Lifehouse in Ryde and Carisbrooke Priory Lifehouse which not only provide somewhere for people to live but also the essential care to help them move on from their homelessness.

"We are pleased to be partnering again with the council on this new and vital scheme to support homeless people on the island to rebuild their lives.”

Meanwhile, Sovereign Housing Association has been awarded a £1.25 million contract from the council to continue to provide young people experiencing homelessness on the Island with a safe place to stay.

Sovereign has managed the Foyer — which offers 45 young people aged between 16 and 25 with a place to call home — for almost 20 years. 

The new contract will see the range for those young people who can be supported from 16 to 30 years of age.

Alison Rushton, Foyer Services manager, said: “We’ve worked really hard with our residents over the last year to co-create a physical environment at the Foyer that is light, bright, modern, and of unmistakeably high quality.

“We want our residents to know that we are investing in them and this is reflected in the standard of the accommodation and the service we provide. We don’t just offer a roof over a young person’s head, we also deliver a comprehensive training programme and wrap-around support."