Please meet Gavin he is the 100th customer to be housed by Spring, as part of a key milestone in our journey we wanted to celebrate this. We recently met with Gavin and gave him 100 items that we hope he will find useful which included household items, plus some the mandatory chocolates!
Spring Housing Association was set up in October of last year to go back to the original routes of the social housing movement and help those most in housing need. Over 80 per cent of our customers were at risk of or have experienced homelessness.
Despite a lot of rhetoric from the media and indeed our current government over 20% of our customers are in work when they came to us, despite not having a roof above their head.
Spring Housing was set up as an example of investing in preventative services and not be reliant on local authority contracts or grants to remain a sustainable service for people who are at risk of homelessness we are able to deliver this service (in Birmingham and the Black Country) through an intensive housing management model. Spring also offers a rent relief fund for our customers that find work as our experience has shown that the part of the greatest challenge is for those in transition from welfare support to mainstream employment and maintain suitable and stable accommodation.
However services are under severe threat, budgets that fund support services which help people to live independently and reach their full potential have been cut by 45% over the last parliament with more to come. The impact on the lives of people who rely on housing related support to overcome difficult challenges in their lives could be catastrophic as there are unfortunately examples of this.
Springs position is to challenge some of the assumptions that are being made about the unemployed which is actually only 3% of the overall welfare budget as it stands , the recent budget announcements have also affected a lot of our customers who are in low paid jobs for some that claim tax credits it will mean on average that working people will lose £1,400 a year of benefits that top up low wages, forcing tens of thousands of people and their children into poverty, these are the people that are in work that have to pay for an ageing population that actually consume the biggest element of welfare spending in the UK.
People like Gavin and other people experiencing homelessness endure intense daily struggles, including violence, mental ill health and family breakdowns, they need real support and compassion. This is often hard to find, because society often renders homeless people as invisible. We want to help change that perception, anyone of us can get into a situation the last thing we need is less help.
Spring would be nothing without the real assets of our company our staff who have made sure that Spring is much more than just a roof over someone’s head, the assistance from our staff for in getting people into high quality accommodation and into work, training and employment has been great to see and the employment opportunities have been based around careers and not just about “getting a job” (we will be saying more about this shortly).
Spring Housing is investing to prevent people from being left behind and despite some of the worrying statistics listed above there is a growing consensus that we can do more for each other and to raise the bar higher for what we want in our communities and bring a bit of aspiration back to the table!