One of the south of England’s largest housing providers has insisted that they will “play their part” in housing rough sleepers moved off the streets during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Radian Group have laid out their homelessness strategy in answer to Rough Sleeping Taskforce chief Dame Louise Casey’s call to arms to prevent a return to the mass rough sleeping seen before the Everybody In initiative was launched to protect those on the streets from the virus.
Radian have vowed to increase their emergency homelessness response by offering local authorities 100 per cent of available one-bed properties and 15 per cent of their two-bed properties from their vacant properties. They have also committed to creating move-on accommodation on their development sites using modern methods of construction.
We are developing a Homelessness Prevention Strategy to help to permanently address the issue
The housing group also have one eye beyond the current crisis and on other people who may be at risk of homelessness in the future – the District Councils’ Network recently found that up to 500,000 people could be at risk of homelessness when the long-term economic disruption of Covid-19 is felt.
“In the wake of Covid-19, we will undoubtedly see additional pressures of homelessness compounding the existing housing crisis, said Lindy Morgan, chair at Radian Group. “As a major housing provider, we are committed to playing our part in stopping thousands of homeless people returning to life on the streets because the temporary accommodation that has been their home during the crisis is no longer available. In addition to providing new homes, we will work with specialist support agencies to help ensure people don’t return to life on the street.”
“We are developing a Homelessness Prevention Strategy to help to permanently address the issue. Working closely with our local authority partners and conducting independent research, we will understand the needs and vulnerabilities in our communities. Based on the principles of Housing First, we will seek to maximise our pipeline of vacant properties to provide flexible accommodation to homeless people.”
There are currently around 2,000 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.
According to Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, offers of safe accommodation have been made to 90 per cent of rough sleepers known to local authorities.
The next step of finding safe long-term accommodation will fall to Dame Casey, who will work with councils through the taskforce. She will be backed with £433 million, accelerated at her request, to make available 6,000 homes, including 3,300 in the first 12 months.
Dame Casey, who speaks exclusively to The Big Issue in the next magazine, out Thursday, has also put the call out for businesses, faith groups and other community organisations to work with the taskforce to end rough sleeping.
Radian’s Lindy says that it is essential for the Government to work closely with local authorities and housing providers to ensure the progress made so far is not squandered..
“The government’s new taskforce and commitment to tackling homelessness lays the foundation for positive change,” she added. “We look forward to supporting Dame Louise Casey and playing our part in tackling homelessness. However, we cannot do this alone and we call upon our peers and fellow housing providers to join us at this pivotal time.
“Now is the time for us to work together as a cohesive industry with a shared vision and offer to government. We can seize this moment in time to solve the homelessness crisis for good. I believe that if we work together and look creatively at how we can reuse our resources – our empty homes, our development sites, our office buildings and we all do our bit, it can be done.”
Read more on how groups are coming together to tackle homelessness in this week’s Big Issue magazine.
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