According to homelessness charity Crisis, rough sleeping levels in England have increased by 132% since 2010. Increasingly, people are becoming homeless because they can no longer afford to rent privately. Nationally, this number has quadrupled since 2010 as private rents rise and people struggle with limited income and changes to state benefits.
Today, many people living in temporary accommodation are families who are working full-time, but cannot afford to rent or buy and would otherwise be homeless.
Curo helps by letting around 12,000 affordable homes at low-cost rents across the region. You might not know that Curo also provides over 130 properties for people facing homelessness. These range from self-contained studios for young people to apartments and family homes. Alongside providing a safe and stable place to stay, this accommodation includes specialist support to help people get back on their feet.
Curo’s homelessness support starts at the beginning, with a mediation service called Time to Talk that’s designed to prevent young people who are having a tough time at home from becoming homeless.
“Time to Talk is the start of our pathway for any young person in B&NES at risk of homelessness,” explains Harriet Bosnell, Curo’s Director of Health, Care & Support. “We work with young people and their parents or carers to help them either stay in the family home or move successfully to one of our supported housing projects. At the same time we work together at rebuilding their relationships with the family and, sometimes, return to the family home.”
In Bath Curo provides supported accommodation at main three locations across the city. Pathways provides supported accommodation for up to two years for young people aged 16-21 facing homelessness. “Last year 13 people moved on to independent accommodation from Pathways; people who would otherwise have been homeless,” says Harriet.
At Curo’s direct access homeless service, 17 studios and apartments are available for families and single people, like Dan (pictured), who face homelessness. Dan recently moved on from this service and describes his experience: “When I first arrived I was actually homeless. I was living in a tent. I’d set my tent up in a place I thought was safe, but everything was stolen.
“The Curo team helped me in quite a few ways. Firstly, giving me a place to stay was fundamentally giving me my security. Being here improved my life tremendously. Curo helped me with my self-confidence and helped me re-learn the people skills I once had. When I moved out, it was Curo who got my white goods for me. They arranged for me to have a bed, they gave me towels – because I had nothing. Without the team at Curo I wouldn’t have anything except a shell of a home.”
Curo’s direct access homeless service is for people assessed under housing regulations as homeless. The local authority has a duty to provide temporary accommodation and families can access the service through them. In the last year 60 single people and families were prevented from becoming street-homeless through this service.
The Bath Foyer offers more independent living for young people with low-level support for up to two years. The Foyer’s self-contained flats give young people the space to develop their independent living skills in a supported environment with opportunities to get involved in activities such as Free Food Tuesdays and a weekly Job Club with Curo’s Working Well team. People can access this service by being referred, for example by a social or health professional, or individuals can contact the service directly.
Working Well offers additional support to people across B&NES, helping to build confidence, independence and life skills. The focus is on supporting people into training, education, employment, volunteering and work placements. Alongside all this support, Curo offers specialist housing for people with learning difficulties, for teenage parents and for people fleeing domestic abuse.
“People come to us when they are often in a desperate situation,” says Harriet. “When they do, we’re here to provide not just shelter, but the support to get their lives back on track, to live independently and to succeed in life,” says Harriet.
- In the past year Curo has prevented 208 people and families from becoming homeless through these services.
- Curo’s homelessness projects in Bath provide 139 units of temporary accommodation, from studios to flats and family homes.
- 36 young people were supported to move on to settled accommodation.
- 98 young people going through difficulties at home have achieved positive outcomes through Curo mediation.