Concrete has partnered with Cheshire East Council to begin work on the innovative Next Steps programme.
Next Steps is a government programme which provides accommodation and tenancy support to those at risk of homelessness. Concrete, together with Cheshire East Council, are placing local people into private rented accommodation with support to help manage their home, seek mental health assistance, and find employment.
Mike Smith, Operations Manager at Concrete explains: “the Next Steps programme provides much needed support for those at risk of losing their home. It’s such an important scheme in these uncertain and difficult times.
“So far we’ve supported 22 people including Andrew*, a 50 year old gentleman who became homeless after losing his job due to COVID. He was able to stay with friends for a while but soon found himself sleeping rough for several months, and later in emergency accommodation.
“We were able to move Andrew from this emergency property into supported accommodation. Here Andrew had help seeking medical support, maximising his income with the correct benefits, regaining basic life skills and support managing his new home and tenancy.
“Through the Next Steps programme, a more permanent home was identified by Cheshire East Council and Andrew was supported by our team to live independently. Since then, and with the help of Concrete’s floating support, Andrew has settled into his new home quickly and is now on his way back into employment.”
Concrete and Cheshire East Council are currently looking for landlords with empty properties, especially those with one bedroom accommodation, to join the programme. Landlords will receive an incentive such as advanced rent payments and will have peace of mind that all tenancies will be closely monitored.
The programme will not only help struggling landlords but those at risk of homelessness. Customers who join the programme will receive intensive floating support during the initial five months of their tenancy, essentials for their new home like toiletries and furniture, as well as help securing their tenancy.
Councillor Nick Mannion, Cheshire East Cabinet Member for Environment and Regeneration says: “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected many people, sadly the situation has resulted in some residents becoming unemployed or struggling financially and losing their homes.
“The Next Steps programme is an opportunity for private landlords to offer secure one bedroomed accommodation to those in Cheshire East who need help. In return they will receive guaranteed rental income for a property that may otherwise have stood empty and support from an advisor who will work with them and their tenants.”