Preventing Homelessness in Reading

Housing with support … more than just a place to live

Our clean and safe housing combined with individual, targeted support is the most effective way to get people back on track and making a positive contribution to the community. Support is usually for up to two years and we can house 143 people at any one time.

How well would you cope without a safe, clean place to live? We assist people who don’t have somewhere to call home. It’s the first step towards people living positive lives and supporting themselves. There are lots of reasons why people end up needing our support. Find out more about the reasons for homelessness here.

Over 100 beds in Reading

We have 143 rooms in properties across Reading, available to people who have a history of homelessness, are homeless, or are at risk of becoming homeless and need support.

For our clients, housing with support is a lifeline. The day they move in can be a turning point. Once a client has a steady home, it’s easier to provide regular, effective and preventative support for mental health, alcohol and substance misuse issues. Stable accommodation also helps break the cycle of reoffending. And our support helps tackle deep-rooted issues that have prevented clients from moving forward in life.

Housing with support

Essentials covered, with space to grow

People are referred to Launchpad’s Supported Housing team after being assessed by Reading Borough Council’s Housing Advice Service. Depending on their situation, they will enter the stage of the Homelessness Pathway that is right for them.

Every client at Launchpad is allocated a support worker who collaborates with them to create a support plan. This support plan will help the client to achieve their goals and manage any ongoing risks and needs in their lives.

We work closely with other agencies and community groups such as the Probation Service and iRiS to make sure residents are given wrap-around support and opportunities to make positive changes.

To begin with, every Launchpad client gets their own room, usually in a shared house. As they make progress and demonstrate independence, we give people the chance to move into a self-contained bedsit or flat.

We don’t want supported housing to be forever. And neither do our clients. They are keen to make ends meet and live independently. It’s a daunting journey, but moving into Launchpad housing can be a crucial first step.

Having somewhere to live isn’t enough. It’s not enough to lead a positive life. It’s not enough to stay happy. And for our clients, it doesn’t deal with the underlying problems they face.

A stable home, targeted support

Nobody expects to need supported housing. But there are many reasons people come to us for help. The end of a marriage, a lack of people to turn to, an unexpected job loss … the challenges are numerous and diverse.

Supported housing is a winning combination for our clients. It means a safe, secure place to live, plus targeted support and assistance to help overcome personal challenges:

It’s the combination of four walls with targeted support that makes our service so successful. We introduce stability into our clients’ lives without expecting them to cope alone.

Many of our clients go on to develop key life skills and are soon able to live independently. Others require longer-term guidance and assistance in a supported housing environment. With structure, consistency and non-judgemental support from people who understand the hurdles clients face, we give them the best chance to turn things around.

Long term housing

People don’t need to stay in our housing with support indefinitely / for longer than they need. Ideally within two years they will gained the skills and knowledge to live independently / without support.

As well as providing services to help and prevent homelessness, Launchpad owns and manages five homes where our clients can move-on from Launchpad and live an independent life.

Moving-on and into our good quality, clean, safe, long term accommodation we are giving people we have supported the best chance of making a success of their lives. We help our clients move on whether it’s into our long term accommodation or into their own privately rented accommodation. Our support includes help with setting up bills and advice for sustaining a tenancy.

Permanent rented accommodation is limited in Reading and we hope to be able to house more people with our long term housing in the coming years.

There are two schemes that help support people moving on from Launchpad and into private rented accommodation in the town. The Rent Guarantee Scheme (RGS) and the Deposit Guarantee Scheme (DGS)

RGS matches people who need homes with landlords who have properties to let. Reading Borough Council pay the rent directly to the landlord, in advance and guarantee to pay up to six weeks’ rent as a tenancy deposit. Landlords and tenants sign a three-way agreement at the start of the tenancy. Find out more about RGS here >

DGS helps people who want to rent privately but can’t afford the deposit. Reading Borough Council guarantee to pay the landlord a maximum of one month’s rent if their tenant leaves with rent arrears or having damaged the property, instead of the tenant needing a cash deposit. Find out more DGS here >

So what’s PIE got to do with supported housing?

PIE stands for Psychologically Informed Environment and it helps people take control of their lives and develop their ability to be part of a community.

We’ve worked with five of our longer-term more challenging clients who live together in a small block of flats.

The first step was to talk to the clients about their surroundings; the flats they live in, the hallway and the front garden. Our first question was how would they like it to look? There were lots of ideas, so we sat down with the residents and showed them a whole range of colours. Interestingly, they chose colours that are part of PIE, soothing quiet colours.

The small block of flats not only looks different, it is quiet and calm. It’s clean and looked after by our tenants. They now have a rota for taking the bins out and for sweeping the hall. These sound like small things, but represent immense steps forward. Every Friday they cook and eat a meal together. So far they’ve made a minced beef stew, chicken and chorizo pasta and a risotto.

There will be hiccups and disappointments, but as a group and as individuals they are looking forward. For the first time in ages they have hope and a sense of possibility.

We hope our PIE clients feel more comfortable and safe – the best conditions for them to get physically and psychologically stronger.

Friendly landlords

The private rental market is incredibly competitive in Reading and there is a general lack of affordable rented housing. This makes the search for accommodation very difficult for our clients who have got their lives back on track and are ready to move on.

We’d love to hear from local friendly landlords who we could work with to move our successful clients on from Launchpad. Get in touch with Phil our Supported Housing Manager by emailing phil.parker@launchpadreading.org.uk.