As one of Wirral’s providers of hostel type accommodation, we know that there is a desperate shortage of suitable good standard one-bedroom accommodation for our clients moving-on from the YMCA into independent living.
Research completed by Homeless Link found that as much as 40% of all hostel bed spaces in England and Wales were occupied by people waiting to move on. Some of the younger residents in the research faced significant barriers to accessing move on accommodation. These may have been for legal, issues of perception, related to the benefits system, or related to a shortage of affordable or acceptable housing, but nonetheless they were creating barriers.
In more recent times another pressure point has been experienced where homeless persons living in hostel accommodation can no longer access detoxification services unless they have an exit to other accommodation away from the main hostel type project. This is an understandable decision by funders, however has caused frustrations and concern for us as a responsible provider of housing options.
The delays and difficulties in finding suitable move-on accommodation frustrate a person’s attempts to progress from homelessness, can damage their motivation and wellbeing and also wastes public money. For staff it can be an equally difficult and frustrating time.
There is a real need for more affordable rented accommodation which allows vulnerable adults to live independently. Additionally, increasing the supply, no matter how small an amount, would relieve the pressure on homelessness services by freeing up beds for other homeless men and women who desperately need them.
With this in mind, YMCA Wirral has begun a properties acquisition programme over the next 10 years, that will see it acquire “move-on” accommodation for residents who are ready to move into their own property, but with the added comfort of knowing they have dedicated continuing support from the YMCA during their move-on and beyond.