The last few months have further highlighted the importance of having a safe space to call home. We are committed to providing safe, quality and affordable homes, to reduce homelessness in Manchester and ensure everyone has a place to call home.
There are currently over 5500 people* living on the streets or in temporary accommodation in Greater Manchester. Many families living in temporary accommodation will have applied for rehousing on Manchester Move, an online register to find social housing in Manchester. However, as many rental properties are 3-bedrooms or smaller, they have struggled to find homes large enough to house their families.
We are committed to proactively find solutions to support larger families in Greater Manchester. To achieve this, we are working in partnership with the City Council and five other Registered Providers to source properties suited to their needs.
How the partnership began
In 2017 Manchester City Council allocated £5 million of funding with the sole purpose of using the monies for purchase larger homes to house large families currently living in temporary accommodation.
The Council invited Registered Providers (RPs) across Manchester to join the project, using their skills and resources to manage the purchase and renovation of homes. A consultation took place over several months and was concluded with the signing of The Collaboration Agreement in April 2019.
The Collaboration Agreement was entered into by Manchester City Council and the following RPs:
• Arawak Walton Housing Association Limited
• Jigsaw Homes Group Limited
• Moss Care St Vincent’s Housing Group Limited
• One Manchester Limited
• Southway Housing Trust Limited
• Wythenshawe Community Housing Group Limited
All parties agreed that a combined investment of over £14 million would be allocated for a two-year period, with the aim of acquiring and renovating approximately 62 properties.
How properties are acquired and let through Southway Housing Trust
The first stage of the scheme is managed by our Development Team, who view potential properties across South Manchester. Currently, the team is targeting 4- bedroom houses, but may branch out to larger properties as the scheme progresses. The team oversees the purchasing and renovation of these properties, managing the logistics and cost of all refurbishment works. As per the Collaboration Agreement, all properties acquired are renovated to the Government’s Decent Home Standard as a minimum.
Once works are complete, the Development Team hand over to our Neighbourhood Team, who contact families living in temporary accommodation and registered on Manchester Move. Our Neighbourhood Team then work closely with the families to support their move out of temporary accommodation and into the new homes.
One property Southway redeveloped in Levenshulme
Progress and impact
To date, a combined total of 23 properties have been acquired by the Partnership.
Covid-19 has, understandably, impacted the progress of the scheme for the majority of 2020. Despite the setbacks resulting from the pandemic, Southway has successfully rehoused four families living in temporary accommodation into properties completed under the scheme.
All families had been registered on Manchester Move and had difficulty finding houses suited to their size. Following their move, the families have all expressed the positive impact having a permanent home has made to their daily lives and sense of wellbeing.
One parent in particular commented on the benefit their new home had on her young children. Whilst in temporary accommodation, the family were relocated to North Manchester and had to get up at 5am to get their children to school in the South. Thanks to their new home, the family are now much closer to their children’s school. The children have been able to sleep better and have performed better in school. Not only that, but the family have also been able to save the money they had previously spent on public transport.
Reflecting on the scheme’s progress, Southway’s Head of Development Wendy Perkins commented:
Everyone at Southway Housing Trust is proud to support this initiative in partnership with the City Council and local Registered Providers. The impact made following the provision of larger family homes has already been encouraging with feedback from the families clearly identifying how important a permanent home is for everyone.Wendy Perkins, Head of Development
We are really pleased with the difference these homes have made to families in our communities so far. We are optimistic that the combined efforts of ourselves, our fellow RPs and Manchester City Council will provide a long term solution to keep families out of temporary accommodation and bring homelessness in Greater Manchester to an end.
*Figure from Greater Together Manchester