National mobility scheme helps 1,000 families out of homelessness | News

National mobility scheme helps 1,000 families out of homelessness

Over 1,000 families and individuals have resolved their housing instability thanks to Homefinder UK.

The scheme has achieved this by connecting available social housing across the country to people in housing need and willing to move.

Most of the moves are from areas of high housing demand to parts of the country with lower demand - a link that, for Homefinder UK, is currently being underused by local authorities and housing associations.

Ninesh Muthiah, CEO & founder of Homefinder UK, says the current situation adds pressure to local authorities and housing associations to provide long-term solutions, quicker.

“We welcome the £316m funding announced by the Government in December. We all know the damaging impact homelessness and rough sleeping have on individuals and families.

"The financial support is vital for local authorities to deliver on homelessness prevention work and we hope it will be used to implement long term solutions to reduce homelessness and the chance of it repeating."

Homefinder UK has been supporting over 40 local authorities experiencing exceptionally high levels of housing demand by facilitating access to permanent social housing in other areas. Reading Council is one such council.

Deb Courtnage, Homelessness and Housing Pathways Outreach Officer at Reading Council, commented on their partnership with Homefinder UK: “Reading Borough Council has had a steady flow of people moving via Homefinder UK, and it is always their choice to use this option.

"The most recent move by one of our clients has been fantastic. He was thrilled to be offered secure accommodation in the area of his choice, and he took the time to thank all involved in the process.”

"Compared to some of the London authorities, we are small fry, but the most recent move means that we have had 29 clients who have moved into a permanent home in an area that they were happy to move to”.

On the other side of the equation, Homefinder UK helps housing associations to allocate hard-to-let properties and deliver on their mission to help the most vulnerable.

Adrian Stone, Sanctuary Housing’s regional lettings manager for Midlands and South West, said: “We have been using the Homefinder UK service since 2019, mainly for our harder to let properties, and have achieved some real successes matching people in need with suitable housing.”

“Our priority is to provide homes for those who need them, and working with Homefinder  UK is a great way to do this and support some of the most vulnerable people in society”

A key factor attributed to Homefinder UK’s success is to offer a higher level of choice for those who opt to use the scheme.

Launched last year, their survey of 690 households rehoused through the service revealed that 77% of the respondents got rehoused into permanent social housing within 12 weeks after opting to move out of their local area.

And 95% recognised at least one positive change after moving into a permanent home in a new area of the country. 

Brenda Fraser, manager of Homefinder UK, said: “People approach Homefinder UK as their last hope for rehousing, having been told by their local council that the wait for social housing is ten years or more.

"While we undoubtedly need more affordable housing across the UK, national and local governments must consider other avenues to the exhaustive wait for social housing in high-demand areas. Our scheme helped local authorities save up to £8,000 on temporary costs per household rehoused”

"There is a great misconception that people will not settle in a new area. Our survey showed that people are willing to move out of their local area and restart their life in another part of the country if they feel empowered and supported when making that choice.

"This was especially true to over 140 domestic abuse survivors we helped find a fresh start.  It is truly about offering choice, support and hand-holding."