The Halcrow Foundation is funding a loan scheme for homeless people in the UK through the charity Streets2Homes. The loan is used as a guarantee for rented accommodation in the private housing sector, and people supported by the scheme are also be given access to training opportunities provided by the charity.

Streets2Homes is based in Harlow, Essex. It was set up to address homelessness in the area and has been developed over 10 years, working with funding partners and building on past successes. The charity assesses an individual’s needs on a one-to-one basis and provides support in accessing social services and finding accommodation. It also gives training in basic skills to promote employment opportunities, job promotion schemes and ongoing counselling and support.

The loan scheme helps to secure accommodation for those wanting to leave the streets, but can’t afford the deposit that landlords require. Streets2Homes guarantees the initial deposit to secure the accommodation and supplies tenancy support, which makes landlords more willing to let their properties. Individuals can then repay the loans at a rate they can afford once they have a degree of stability in their lives, and various incentives are used to promote this.

Having accommodation means access to housing, welfare and unemployment benefits, which allows individuals to pay the rent and repay the deposit. It is also seen as a key stepping stone to ensuring the safety, health and wellbeing of people who are homeless, as well as opening up new life opportunities for them.

This project continues on from the earlier deposit loan guarantee scheme [link] which was also funded by the Halcrow Foundation. It builds on the experience gained from the scheme and benefits from the growing number of private sector landlords who now work with Streets2Homes as a result if its success.

Under separate funding as part of this project, people who are supported by the loan scheme will be given access to training opportunities provided by Streets2Homes. This includes health and safety, food hygiene (catering), food allergy awareness, COSHH, data protection, equality and diversity in the workplace, completing application forms, interview skills, positive attitudes and behaviour change techniques.

People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness often have complex needs and aren’t financially able to secure accommodation. When a homeless person is housed this benefits the entire community, reducing pressure on families, health services, the police and other community support organisations.