One of the south’s largest housing providers has responded to the government’s call to arms to tackle homelessness during, and beyond, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Underpinned by a detailed Homelessness Strategy, Radian Group has offered its full support to the government’s new rough sleeping taskforce, spearheaded by Dame Louise Casey. The group is also echoing the rallying call to encourage peer organisations to follow suit.
“In the wake of COVID-19, we will undoubtedly see additional pressures of homelessness compounding the existing housing crisis, said Lindy Morgan, Chair at Radian Group. “As a major housing provider, we are committed to playing our part in stopping thousands of homeless people returning to life on the streets because the temporary accommodation that has been their home during the crisis is no longer available. In addition to providing new homes, we will work with specialist support agencies to help ensure people don’t return to life on the street.”
Providing an overview of the pledges from Radian Group’s Homelessness Strategy, Lindy said:
“From June 2020, we will increase our emergency homelessness response. We will work with our partners to find and make available safe homes for rough sleepers and other homeless households. This includes offering our local authority partners 100 per cent of available one-bed properties and 15 per cent of our two-bed properties from our void portfolio and creating ‘move-on’ accommodation on our development sites using modern methods of construction.
“We are developing a Homelessness Prevention Strategy to help to permanently address the issue. Working closely with our local authority partners and conducting independent research, we will understand the needs and vulnerabilities in our communities. Based on the principles of Housing First, we will seek to maximise our pipeline of vacant properties to provide flexible accommodation to homeless people.”
The collaborative response during the pandemic to safely accommodate 90% of rough sleepers demonstrates that a long-term solution is possible. However, according to Lindy, to make real, long-term change happen, it is essential that the government, local authorities and housing providers work closely together.
“The government’s new taskforce and commitment to tackling homelessness lays the foundation for positive change,” she said. “We look forward to supporting Dame Louise Casey and playing our part in tackling homelessness. However, we cannot do this alone and we call upon our peers and fellow housing providers to join us at this pivotal time.
“Now is the time for us to work together as a cohesive industry with a shared vision and offer to government. We can seize this moment in time to solve the homelessness crisis for good. I believe that if we work together and look creatively at how we can reuse our resources – our empty homes, our development sites, our office buildings and we all do our bit, it can be done.”