A man who has spent six years living on the streets now has a place to call home thanks to new funding to convert much-needed properties in Liverpool.
Peter, 40, intermittently slept rough for more than six years but has now moved into a one-bedroom terrace in the city.
Under Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP) he is the first person to move into a property with social housing provider Riverside.
“I’m delighted with my home, I’m really happy. It’s a wonderful experience to have somewhere to call home that I haven’t had for more than six years,” says Peter.
He added: “During that time I’ve slept rough on the streets and occasionally used a night shelter. It was really difficult especially during the cold, harsh winters.
“I have recently passed my security qualification which means I can now start looking for work as well. But for now I’m settling into my new home, which is something I’ve been missing for a very long time.”
Building on the government’s Everyone In initiative to protect rough sleepers from Covid-19 which brought them into emergency accommodation, NSAP provides local authorities with funding to deliver new tenancies and support for people experiencing homelessness who would otherwise face challenges that prevent them from accessing accommodation.
In Liverpool, Riverside has converted 10 properties in their housing stock to one bedroom homes by investing £231,000 to the project. In partnership with Liverpool City Council, Riverside bid for £119,000 NSAP grant funding which was received from Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Homes England.
Dot Kelly, Riverside’s Regional Operations Manager, said: “We are so pleased to help and support Peter in his first new home after more than six years on the streets by helping him settle in and make it a place of his own.
“We are in the process of converting 10 two-bedroom terraces into a one-bed by relocating the bathroom upstairs.
“There is a national shortage of one-bedroom properties so this project helps meet the housing needs for residents in Liverpool. In addition creating accommodation for single people means that they are not levied with paying bedroom tax for an extra room.”
NSAP draws upon elements of the Housing First approach but with an added wrap-around support service to break the cycle of homelessness and rough sleeping.
As experienced providers of supported accommodation and homelessness services, Riverside is delivering the support element to people housed under the NSAP scheme in Liverpool. Support can be wide-ranging from help with utility bills, getting new furniture and appliances connected, ensuring they are receiving the correct social security benefits, enrolling with a doctor and dental surgery.
Dot explains: “Support is tailored to the person’s needs, and ensuring that that their immediate requirements are met first. We also link them with positive peer and community groups to help them get settled which is important to prevent isolation and break the cycle of homelessness.”
Riverside is one of the largest provider of homelessness services in the country, and its Care and Support operation works with over 16,000 customers every year.