Since May 2019, we’ve entered into a number of lease agreements with Two Saints on its supported accommodation portfolio. This included 5 mental health schemes, 3 young person schemes and a homeless hostel. These arrangements have helped reduce the risk of these properties being decommissioned and provide some certainty for Two Saints about the properties available.
Two Saints offers support to people who are homeless, in need of support, or at risk of becoming homeless, and who need help to get back on their feet. Its services include safe, flexible and reliable client led housing and support, with a focus on reducing homelessness, improving health and wellbeing, and building on individual’s skills and resilience to break the cycle of homelessness, poverty and exclusion. They operate in areas across the south of England, and our partnership currently sees us working together in Fareham, Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth.
Following the impact of the first lockdown, we at VIVID worked closely with Two Saints in assisting local authorities with the government’s ‘Everybody In’ campaign earlier in the year, to get rough sleepers off the street. We provided Two Saints use of our East Street building in Fareham as temporary accommodation, and the partnership meant we could approach local authorities with a package of accommodation and trusted support. As a result of this, both VIVID and Two Saints have continued to work with Fareham Borough Council on use of the East Street building.
At VIVID we’ve also embarked on a number of positive conversations with local authorities, particularly in Gosport on providing Housing First services, which it’s hoped will start early in the New Year. This service provides rough sleepers with permanent accommodation and intensive support to avoid them having to go through the hostel route.
Two Saints has also trained our staff in providing services in Psychologically Informed Environments. This involves changes to the physical layout of buildings and aspects such as colour schemes which can impact on the behaviour of staff and residents. Following this training, we’re currently looking at how changes in décor in the communal areas of our sheltered and extra care schemes for older people can help to improve the experience of residents, make the buildings look and feel more homely, and assist those with extra needs. For example, for those with dementia, it can help them locate their flats by colour coding the walls of communal areas.
Derek Streek, Head of Neighbourhoods at VIVID, said: “We’re proud to have partnered with Two Saints and the work we’ve undertaken over the past year has been fantastic. At VIVID, we’re conscious that we’re the biggest social landlord in Hampshire and so we have a significant role to play in providing a wide range of social housing. We believe everyone has the right to a safe place to call home, and therefore having places and support services that people in need can access is crucial. The pandemic highlighted the needs of rough sleepers on our streets and working together meant we could help get people off the street during what was an incredibly difficult time, and gave us the opportunity to build on that to reduce homelessness across Hampshire in the longer term. We’re excited to see what the future holds for the partnership and look forward making more of a difference in our communities.”
Steve Benson, Chief Executive of Two Saints, said: “We’re really excited about our partnership with VIVID, which brings benefits to both organisations and their tenants and clients. I’m particularly excited about the work we’re doing on a vision for future accommodation for homeless people across Hampshire. This will not only improve services and the outcomes we achieve but make these safer in a post COVID-19 era, with more self-contained accommodation. This is something our partner housing authorities are really interested in across Hampshire and beyond – and this has the potential to significantly improve services and end rough sleeping.”