As noted elsewhere, the aim of homelessness services is generally to help people find, set up and manage a home of their own. That is what people mostly tell us they want and it has to be what services work for. It may be that some people need support even once they have a home and are settled or they may not; but if they do, services should work with them on that basis.
Equally, it may be that people arrive in their own accommodation after a period in temporary housing. But the focus on helping people work out what they want and be able to secure it for themselves should be paramount. It should underpin all we do.
Most people using services will therefore ultimately go into tenancies, renting properties or rooms from landlords. The landlords may be private or social (housing associations or, in some cases, councils) but generally people will have tenancies where they pay rent for a room, flat or house. What people can afford will, of course, depend on their income.
There tend to be specific things that people need to secure a place of their own:
Many people in society have the resources when they need accommodation to go on-line, search for options and arrange to view them, with the necessary money in place, whether saved or borrowed. Others do not have those resources and so may need help finding suitable accommodation, as well as putting together the package necessary for securing it, as above.
An important issue is often affordability: people may need accommodation that is rented at the amount allowed for by their benefits (or other income). Homelessness services, such as us at Path, may have links with landlords more likely to have affordable accommodation and may also be able to provide support to look at ways to find some of the necessary funds.
For people with other issues, such as addiction or mental health problems, other services they use may be able to do some of that or link them with services that can. It’s important not to pretend that having one’s own accommodation solves every issue; but it does provide the safety and security that most of us consider vital.
So, whatever steps people may take to get there, services should always be helping people move towards and into their own accommodation, with the responsibilities but also all the benefits that brings. And areas need to have services to enable that, such as private rented access schemes, with a range of support relevant to people’s individual needs.
That’s when we end homelessness, one person or household at a time.