Southern Housing Group, one of the island’s leading housing and care providers, has been awarded a contract from the local council to give homeless families a safe place to stay and support to help them overcome their challenges.
Anabel Palmer, Director of Community Investment and Care at Southern Housing Group said: ‘The Southern 360 team (the Group’s supporting independence and care team) has the experience, expertise and, importantly, the commitment to help the Isle of Wight’s homeless. The lives of families that find themselves homeless are often complex; helping them needs patience and dedication.
‘As a social landlord, we know first-hand the importance of having safe, secure and affordable housing. Having a roof over your head is the most important step to being able to find work, open a bank account and raise a family. Right now, when so many communities are affected by the covid-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we do what we can to help the families that are already struggling with hardship.’
Aside from providing families with their own bathroom and toilet, Southern Housing Group’s new service aims to ensure children have their own bedrooms and a quiet place to do homework. Many homeless families find themselves having to use shared toilets and bathrooms in guesthouses, bed and breakfasts or hostels, which lots of local authorities are still obliged use due to a lack of suitable housing.
Southern Housing Group will provide a range of properties, either studio flats or one- or two-bedroom homes. The accommodation will be offered to the Isle of Wight’s homeless families according to family size as part of a package of help and support.
Families will have access to local shops, schools and GP surgeries in their new homes. Each family will be assisted by someone from the Southern 360 team who will help them settle into their new community, which if possible, will be in an area they are already familiar with.
Rebecca, who is due to move into one of the properties with her husband and two children shortly, said: ‘I feel like I want to cry, as we are all ecstatic about being able to be move into this lovely house and for being given this opportunity. Having somewhere safe and comfortable to stay will make a huge difference to us.’
Jamie Brenchley, the council’s service manager for housing needs and homelessness, said: ‘The Isle of Wight Council has outlined its bold and ambitious vision to end homelessness.
‘The new family and accommodation scheme that we have commissioned through Southern Housing Group is an exciting development and one which will ensure families with no place to call home, receive specialist timely interventions to minimise the traumatic experience of homelessness.
‘We look forward to working with them to tackle homelessness together.’
The housing association, which owns and manages over 3000 properties on the island, won the contract after a competitive tendering process. Southern Housing Group’s accommodation costs will be funded by the Isle of Wight Council.
If you are a Southern Housing Group resident looking for support during this difficult time, please visit
https://www.shgroup.org.uk/about-us/covid-19-coronavirus-updates/ for details on how to access help.