Southern Housing Group signs up for homelessness "Commitment to Refer"
Southern Housing Group has signed up to the National Housing Federation “Commitment to Refer” to help take action on homelessness
What is the Commitment to Refer?
From 1 October 2018, as part of the Homelessness Reduction Act, public bodies will be bound by the Duty to Refer. This is an obligation to refer anyone to a local authority if they are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
Housing associations are not part of this, but we are keen to support the implementation of the Act, so the National Housing Federation has developed a housing association offer on the Duty to Refer. This is called the Commitment to Refer. #CommitmentToRefer
This is a voluntary commitment that a housing association will refer an individual or household to a local housing authority if they are homeless or threatened with homelessness, thereby supporting the aims of the Homelessness Reduction Act and particularly the Duty to Refer.
Alan Townshend, Group Chief Executive said, “We are proud to be a part of this commitment. This initiative will support vulnerable people across the UK threatened with homelessness.”
Supporting homeless customers – find out more about our work
Yarborough House on the Isle of Wight is a Southern Housing Group supported housing scheme for homeless families. Julie* moved into a bedsit room with her two children after being made homeless. She worked hard with the support on offer and found a new home.
Julie remembers how it was when she was first made homeless and moved from her two bedroom home into a one bedsit room. “Let’s face it, when you first arrive at Yarbrough your whole world has been turned upside down. For me it felt like that anyway”
Julie described how difficult it was adjusting to living in one room with two young children. “There are a lot of changes that take quite a while to get used, but you will and you do. My time at Yarborough has definitely had its downs but it also has had its ups”
Yarborough is home for 22 families and that can mean a lot of children under one roof! It is like a small busy micro-community with shared bathrooms. The communal day room and hallways act as meeting places for the children and adults.
There is a great community atmosphere at Yarborough House.
Julie agrees:“I have met some awesome people that I will call friends for life, and my children have too. Of course you are not going to get on with everybody but that can happen wherever you are. Every single person at Yarborough has their own reason for being here but at the end of the day we are all in the same boat which means everyone pulls together to help if needed. It is quite beautiful to witness and be part of others who would not usually meet or even get on, pull together and help each other when times get tough”
The support provided at Yarborough is housing related. Support staff work closely with customers to help them maximize their chances of finding and securing move-on accommodation. We also understand how difficult it is to live in one bedsit room with your children. We try to secure funding so we can make life a little more tolerable.
After a year at Yarborough, Julie and her children were finally successful at securing a permanent home. She was also excited to have secured a new job that she is thoroughly enjoying. Julie and her children’s future is looking promising and hopeful.
And here’s the last word from Julie:
“I won’t keep going on but one last thing I will say is thank you staff and residents for making my time at Yarborough as easy as it can be. Thank you from me and my girls”