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Orbit joins national campaign day to celebrate supported housing

Orbit, the 39,000-home housing association, is joining housing providers across the UK in a national campaign to ensure every person who needs extra support, has a home that meets their needs.

The Starts at Home campaign celebrates supported housing and tells the stories of people who have gained independence or rebuilt their confidence through these vital services providing them with a safe and secure home.  

Orbit provides homes and services to support people facing challenges and needing support including sheltered accommodation, refuges for women fleeing domestic violence, shelters and supported homes for those at risk of homelessness, and supported housing for vulnerable young people and adults with disabilities.

Vicky Harwood, director of Orbit Independent Living said: “We wholeheartedly support this campaign to raise the profile of supported housing and to celebrate the benefit it brings to individuals and local communities.

“Supported housing complements health and social care strategy and provision by enabling people to develop or maintain the confidence, skills and networks needed to live independently.”

Having struggled with a heroin addiction for years, William, 33, had been living at Orbit’s Fishermead Hostel in Milton Keynes, since June 2015 when his brother moved out, triggering feelings of loneliness and causing him to turn to drugs.

William (pictured) stopped engaging with staff and, after forgetting to sign for his Job Seekers Allowance, stopped receiving Housing Benefit and had to resort to begging.

One day while begging, William was approached by a staff member from the hostel, which supports homeless young people aged 25 or over, who encouraged him to access the help available and re-engage with Compass, addiction recovery specialists.

William has since completed two confidence building courses and one workability course at Milton Keynes College. He is now a full-time cleaning operative and is working to achieve his dream of working in the food industry. After receiving the Brian Griffiths Award by Orbit, aimed at supporting the developmental aspirations of its customers, William will receive funding for his food and hygiene qualifications.

William said: “I didn’t know there was this level of support for people until I moved into the hostel…I have a stable and secure home and the support from staff has given me the stepping stone I needed to be able to move forward with my life and be who I really am.”

The funding system for supported housing is currently being reviewed by the Government, after which a new funding mechanism will be set up. Orbit joins the National Housing Federation and other housing associations across the UK in campaigning to ensure every person who needs extra support, has a home that meets their needs.

David Orr, Chief Executive at the National Housing Federation said: “Supported housing provides a safe and secure home that helps people to live independently and to achieve their aspirations. That's why we launched the Starts at Homes campaign to celebrate the good work done by so many in the supported housing sector, and show the Government why it’s such a crucial part of the housing fabric.”

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