Family Housing, a housing association based in Swansea and covering South and West Wales, is providing 13 new homes for people who were previously at risk of homelessness. The residents will also receive psychological and trauma informed support to help them begin a new chapter in their lives.
The accommodation has been made available following a series of successful bids made by Family Housing to Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Councils as part of Welsh Government’s homelessness funding. Working in partnership with these local authorities the initiative will significantly increase housing provision in these areas for those who need it most, giving people who were staying in shared or temporary accommodation their own permanent homes.
The initiative is typical of Family Housing’s joined up approach to tackling homelessness, which incorporates specialist support designed to give residents the best chance of permanently escaping homelessness. To help the new residents settle in and feel a sense of ownership of their new homes, they have been invited to choose important details such as floor coverings and furniture.
“The aim is not only to provide urgently needed accommodation, but also to address the underlying issues that caused the residents to be homeless, or at risk of homelessness, in the first place,” said Marcia Sinfield, Chief Executive of Family Housing Association. “As the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, homelessness is a complex issue, and every individual requires support tailored to their specific circumstances. We’re committed to providing our residents with homes in which they feel safe and comfortable, and our staff are trained to deliver the support that they need to overcome key hurdles in their lives.”
The provision of the properties is part of the Welsh Government’s agenda to tackle homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic, and also part of the homelessness strategies of Swansea Council and Neath Port Talbot Council.
The homes are all centrally located in Neath and Swansea and close to amenities and other sources of support that could prove crucial in helping the new residents redefine their lives. Moving from shared or temporary accommodation into homes of their own is a significant step for them:
Moving in last week, one of the new tenants said: “I am so happy that I have been given this opportunity. I think the flat is lovely and is in a great location. I have wanted to have my own flat for years but have always been anxious about it but knowing that I will be supported by staff is great. I am most looking forward to no longer having to share a lounge, kitchen and bathroom that I previously had to do in shared accommodation. I feel excited for a new start after living in supported housing for 15 years. Thank you, Family Housing Association.”
Marcia Sinfield added: “We’re delighted to be helping these 13 people establish themselves in their own self-contained homes and move forward with their lives, supported by our staff. This project forms an important part of the Welsh Government agenda to tackle homelessness during the Covid-19 pandemic and is key to the homelessness strategies of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot Councils. It is also in line with our mission to provide not only housing but also vital support to help our residents feel secure and content in their new homes. It’s a pleasure to see them taking this important step.”
Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government said: “The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of safe, secure and affordable homes like never before. These 13 homes are a fantastic example of how Welsh Government funding is being used not only to create permanent housing, which people can call their own, but to provide the much-needed support services to help people thrive in their new homes.”
Andrea Lewis, Cabinet Member for Homes, Energy and Service Transformation for Swansea Council, said: “This is a real success story from Family Housing and illustrates just what can be achieved when organisations work together to tackle homelessness.
“Under the ‘Housing First’ commitment, we have all signed up to providing safe and secure homes for everyone in the city that needs one.
“Swansea Council is also in the process of developing new homes and upgrading existing properties to provide much needed accommodation for those in need.
“The pandemic has highlighted the need to provide additional support to vulnerable people that are either homeless or at risk of homelessness.
“The efforts by all organisations involved in this area, along with the additional funding provided by the Welsh Government, have had a hugely positive impact in almost eradicating homeless issues in Swansea including rough sleeping.”
Councillor Peter Richards, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services & Health, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to work alongside Family Housing to provide new homes for those at risk of homelessness.
“Our aim is to work in collaboration with partner organisations to prevent homelessness wherever possible and provide support to people when it does happen.
“We don’t want to see anyone become homeless and believe everyone should be given the opportunity to rebuild their lives.”