More Housing is not just about creating homes for those in need, it’s about creating a brand new fresh start in life for those who are in need.

Regardless of whether people have been homeless and living on the streets or placed in temporary housing, the opportunity to finally have a place that’s theirs to call home is phenomenal, yet in some instances it can be overwhelming.

What is absolutely essential in this process is not what happens when the people are given the keys, but what happens after. Team More Housing is well aware that receiving the keys forms the vital line drawn between their past and their new future, however there needs to be a set of support aspect in place to ensure that the longterm outcomes are good.

On this note, we attended the Homes exhibition at eXcel Centre in November and found it heartwarming to see the amount of charities and associations that work tirelessly to bring about positive change in the social housing sector.

One such association is Communities that Work, a national body for social landlords aiming to transform lives for good by supporting people into rewarding, sustainable employment.

Who are Communities that Work?

Communities that Work are a nationwide respected body. They have a full and active membership and a wealth of experience within their team. As such they have cultivated an open and ongoing dialogue with the government on the relationship between housing providers and employment and skills services. This is such a vital link to help ensure that everyone within the sector are working towards the best possible longterm outcomes for their tenants.

They have recently shared an in-depth report, Building Opportunity: How social housing can support skills, talent and workforce development ,that runs through the issues, statistics and needs for social housing in the future. Of particular interest and importance are the case studies surrounding each aspect. This research is critical to back up the need for the campaigns Communities that Work and their partners are pushing for in 2023.

Talking of the need for a new Plan for Jobs, Lynsey Sweeney, Managing Director of Communities that Work, said:

“We need a new plan that can invest in specialist employment support for those out of work and who want to work; broaden access to mainstream employment services; strengthen local partnerships and alignment with wider services like health, childcare and transport; and work better with employers.”  

Not only are the benefits of a sustained approach to support obvious for the tenants, it’s also a massive benefit to the country as a whole.

As the report shows, our labour market in the UK is changing. For the first time in at least thirty years, the workforce has stopped growing and may be getting smaller – driven by the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and demographic change. Now more than ever, employers and government will need to find new ways to raise participation in the labour market, engage people further from work, and improve job retention, security and progression.

Talking of the opportunity to support innovation, Eamon McGoldrick, Managing Director at the National Federation of ALMOs, contributors to the report, said:

“The report shows the strong case for government to work with the social housing sector to encourage, support and fund innovative approaches to employment and skills support that can be delivered through and with social landlords.

“As a starter, there would be significant value in trialling the ‘Jobs-Plus’ model in the UK, which is a well-evidenced approach to supporting people out of work in the most disadvantaged communities, taking a place-based, joined-up and work-focused approach to engaging residents and supporting social action.” 

Overall, it’s now one in seven people of working age in England live in social housing, or five million adults.

Social housing is available to support people who may have faced disadvantage and cannot access housing on the open market. The disadvantages that residents face in the labour market reflect this role that social housing plays, but many residents want to work and would work with the right support.

Improving support for social housing residents and local communities can play a key role in boosting growth, raising living standards and reducing inequalities. Many social landlords are working to do this – through core employment services, specialist support and direct employment and training – but there are a range of challenges in scaling this up. A new approach is needed – built on a new plan for jobs, growth and income; a new model of partnership working; and support to innovate, learn and scale up support to those people who are economically inactive and who want to work.

More Housing caught up with Lynsey Sweeney to talk all things social housing and we’ll bring you that interview in the New Year. For now, make sure you read the report, here’s the link again, and get clued up ready to push forward for change for the better in 2023.

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