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Cambridge City Council

Shared Supported Housing Initiative provides long-term homes for former rough sleepers

News release from 24 August 2020

TEN former rough sleepers will soon have secure, long-term housing in council homes as part of an innovative housing initiative from Cambridge City Council.

The Shared Supported Housing Initiative will see five three-bedroom council homes leased to the Cambridge City Housing Company, a not-for-profit company owned by the council. The properties will be managed by Town Hall Lettings, the council’s social lettings agency.

The Housing Company will then let each of these homes to two former rough sleepers who have previously expressed a willingness to live together.

The council will provide a dedicated support worker for each household to help the new tenants prepare for moving in, settle in fully and to ensure they have help addressing any issues that may arise.

The homes will be fully decorated and furnished, and will be offered at an affordable rent to assist the tenants with their future training or employment prospects. Keys were handed over to tenants of the first home in the initiative this month.

Since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, the council and its partners in the community have found safe accommodation for more than 140 people who had been sleeping rough or were at risk of homelessness.

This new initiative is one of several ways in which the council is now finding longer-term housing solutions for these former rough sleepers.

Last week the council launched its Next Steps programme, aimed at further tackling homelessness in Cambridge by providing a series of brand new modular homes and appealing for support from land and property owners.

Cllr Richard Johnson, Executive Councillor for Housing, said: “We think this Shared Supported Housing Initiative is another imaginative way of giving some of our vulnerable residents the safety and security of a permanent home, to enable them to move on with their lives.”

“Demand for these properties is not as high as for our one and two bedroom accommodation, and will provide excellent accommodation for two people who have shown that they have previously formed a bond and are happy to share a home.

“Rough sleepers have told the council that they are generally more comfortable with the idea of sharing with just one other person, ideally a friend who they have met on the street who they trust and get on with – so this is an excellent solution to their situation.

“I’m really pleased our first tenants are moving in, and wish them all the very best for their new home.”