15 September 2021

A study by De Montfort University found that the new model, called F2W, could help 53,000 rough sleepers into work and potentially save £601m in government homelessness funding.

The scheme was created by Elmbridge-based charity Rentstart and sponsored by housing and social justice charity Commonweal Housing.

The study unveiled the results of a five-year pilot project which aimed to break the cycle of homelessness for dozens of individuals in Elmbridge, Surrey. 

The model provided supported housing, a matched deposit saving scheme and wrap-around employment support to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Just under 100 homeless people (96) were included in the trial. Three-quarters (78%) of whom are now in full or part-time employment and almost half (46%) are living independently in the private rented sector.

An initial review of the study after three years found that the individuals on the scheme had saved £2m in spending, or approximately £8,810 per person per year.

The latest data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government showed that 68,250 households were assessed as homeless or at risk of homelessness between January and March 2021.

According to Commonweal, if the F2W model was applied nationally, it could save up to £601m in spending on homelessness and other measures. It would also support 53,000 rough sleepers, homeless people and those at risk of homelessness into employment.

Ashley Horsey, chief executive of Commonweal, said: “As Brexit crunches supply chains and the pandemic continues to ravage the job market, there is little doubt that innovative new approaches to plugging the employment gap are urgently required.

“F2W answers this question by not only supporting vulnerable people into employment and permanent housing, reversing much of the insecurity that can cripple their standards of living, but delivers astronomical savings to the government at a time of steep national fiscal spending when saving every penny really does count.”

Jo Richardson, president of the Chartered Institute of Housing and co-author of the F2W project evaluation report published last year, said: “F2W is a great example of breaking the cycle of homelessness by offering real, sustainable job prospects to thousands of people and ensuring they have access to independent housing and an independent life.”

Source: Inside Housing