At Concrete, we work with customers across Cheshire East as part of our mission to make homelessness history.
We launched our Crewe-based Cheshire East service nearly three years ago to support people facing homelessness in the borough.
The service delivers Supported Housing and Floating Support, with both teams working closely to offer a wide range of support to customers in our properties and living independently.
The Supported Housing team work with customers living in our homes across Cheshire East. They work alongside other agencies to guide them towards independent living. Once customers have achieved that, the Floating Support team step in and continue to deliver less intensive support to help them maintain their tenancy.
Data from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities revealed that in the year 2021-2022, 1,430 households presented as homeless in Cheshire East, as reported by the Northwich and Winsford Guardian.
It’s all too easy to turn a blind eye, but our teams in Cheshire East say there is a ‘huge need’ for homelessness support in the area. That’s why we’re housing, supporting and educating people to help them reach their next chapter and build a concrete future.
Since the service launched in April 2020, the Supported Housing team has guided 131 people towards new chapters where they live independently. There’s no restriction on our service, so that number includes individuals, couples and families.
Tenancy Sustainment and Support Officer Lynda joined the Supported Housing team in 2021. Her role involves supporting customers living in Concrete’s 24 properties across the borough. That includes a mix of houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs), independent houses and flats.
“I always refer to our service as a stepping stone,” said Tenancy Sustainment and Support Officer Lynda. “That’s exactly what it is – a stepping stone towards independent living.”
Lynda joined the Concrete army in 2021 – her role involves supporting customers living in our 24 properties across Cheshire East. This includes a mix of houses of multiple occupancy (HMOs), independent houses and flats.
Lynda continued: “The majority of the people who come to us need that space to have some respite and just breathe after going through difficult and uncertain times regarding their home. We work with them to put a plan together and help lay the foundations of an independent life.
“We support and guide customers, but we also educate them. Part of our role involves teaching them and making sure they are picking up those independent living skills that they need for their next chapter.”
Our team have been busier than usual over the last month and recently had five customers moving out, or almost ready to. Lynda took a female customer to view her new home and she was so happy and emotional that she left Lynda’s jacket wet with happy tears!
Staff have also recently undertaken a ‘smarten up’ project at their HMO gardens. They sourced patio sets for customers to enjoy, which they have been encouraged to maintain.
Lynda said: “One customer told us that the plants in the garden reminded him of his mum’s garden in Poland, which he looked after for her. He said he was looking forward to looking after these plants too.
“Seeing the change in people, from when they first come to us, to when they move on, is just amazing. To see someone who has had nothing and perhaps lived on the streets, to then moving into their own home and being independent, it’s wonderful. We watch them bloom.”
Within the borough, our team also works with other organisations, including probation, children’s services and mental health organisations, to make sure that customers have complete wraparound support that works for them.
Lynda explained: “In Cheshire East we have some great connections. Everyone works together in a really positive way to make sure customers have everything they need, whether that’s food, furniture or finances.”