Framework was among the first charities to benefit from our Charity Donations fund, receiving £10,000 in our second round of awards last year. Their application really brought to life the problems faced by the people they set out to help, so we were delighted to hear from Jon Leighton, support service manager at Framework, about how they’ve been putting our donation to use:
Framework exists to help homeless people live independently in homes of their own. We work hard to develop people to the point where they are ready to take this step, but often face huge challenges in getting people housed at the end of their time with us.
That’s why I am so proud of our Smartmove service - a residential lettings agency that exists to find decent quality and affordable accommodation within the private sector for vulnerable people – because it gives vulnerable and excluded people a fighting chance in an increasingly challenging rental market.
In September last year, we received a cheque for £10,000 from The DPS to continue this work – something I and the rest of the team are hugely grateful for. More importantly, this contribution has helped real people to move into real properties – people who would otherwise not be housed.
The reasons why are in many ways understandable.
Private landlords are often unwilling to welcome people with a history of homelessness and other associated problems. However, with the reassurance of Framework acting as a mediator and contributing towards the cost of a deposit, the service has been very successful in negotiating suitable living spaces for vulnerable people across Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire. In the last year, the service has housed over 142 people, with a suggested saving to society of more than £500,000 (according to “Making it count” value for money indicators by Crisis).
Mani, aged 48, was one of those real people we helped through Smartmove. Having fallen into mental ill health after a relationship breakdown, Mani’s life was very much at a point of crisis. I think his words sum up better than I ever could why Smartmove is so important, and why this donation is so welcomed.
“I was all over the place emotionally and physically and after two months’ sofa-surfing I was feeling really low and depressed. I approached Smartmove who, after an assessment, offered me a room in one of Framework’s accommodation services. After five months, my support worker approached me to say he was happy with my progress and offered me the chance of a little flat with a private landlord. The offer of a flat of my own was a lifeline to me. I had been everywhere asking for a tenancy, but was unsuccessful. Now I can’t believe how good things are going! I have independence and I have started applying for jobs.”
The incredibly generous funding that Smartmove has received from The DPS means that we are able to help many more people like Mani on their route away from homelessness and towards independence. I would like to thank The DPS again for supporting Framework and Smartmove in particular.
The Smartmove service has enabled us at Framework to create some very productive links with the private rented sector. With the continuing depletion of social housing these links become very important. Finding a safe, secure and affordable place for people to live is one of our number one priorities. And the help we’ve received so far from The DPS and Crisis has been instrumental in creating an innovative and responsive service for vulnerable people.
Framework was formed in 2001 and provides housing, support, training, care, resettlement and employment services, opening doors for around 11,000 homeless and vulnerable people across the East Midlands and parts of South Yorkshire. These include rough sleepers, people escaping domestic violence, care leavers, former prisoners and members of the armed forces, and people with drug, alcohol and mental health problems.