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 for six to twelve months and we can house 100 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 >

100 beds in Reading

We can house 100 people in our properties and houses we lease long-term across Reading, available to people who have a history of homelessness, are homeless, or are at risk of becoming homeless and need support Working Towards Independence.

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. Last year we housed and supported 206 individuals.

Housing with support

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 St Mungo’s, The Salvation Army, Probation Service and iRiS to make sure residents are given wrap-around support and opportunities to make positive changes.

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. 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.

Moving on

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

We also provide houses for five people with our Move-on homes, with another five currently being built. The people that live in our move on homes have no immediate support needs but will probably have been supported by Launchpad. Move-on housing provides a bridge between housing people with support and completely living independently. By living in our good quality housing People are less likely to become homeless again as there is a safety net of a support network and access to advice. When the time is right they will be encouraged and supported to move on to be totally independent to allow someone else to move in to move-on.

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. We are currently undertaking our first building project and building five more Move-on homes in Reading due to be built and ready to move in to February 2019.

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 >

Family housing and removals

We’ve rolled out two more services in 2018 which are already a success for our clients and the community:

Family Accommodation. Earlier this year we completed the refurbishment of a house, turning it into two two bedroom flats for families who were without long term accommodation. A safe, secure home is the foundation of everything we do at Launchpad and our town’s children need to be growing up in a secure environment to give them the best chance in life. Two families have moved in with young children and they are building their own community and getting on brilliantly – they even organised their own chocolate egg hunt in their garden at Easter!

Removal Service. Jacob is our Removals Co-ordinator. We were kindly donated two vans from LeasePlan, one is used by our Maintenance Team to keep the homes of the people we support in good repair, the other Jacob drives moving people into long term accommodation. The service has been up and running for four months and Jacob has moved 40 people we were supporting. The feedback has been so positive “Jacob made the move on so much easier for me”, “so helpful” and “very respectful”.

Our Removal Service has also been out and about helping the Reading community, working with other charities including YMCA. First Days and ReadiFood.

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 >