In 2016 our annual socio-economic research identified that homelessness is once again on the increase nationally, and the signs are that trends in Calderdale reflect this national picture. Homelessness acceptances to Calderdale Council have risen by 29.6%.
With the recent changes to the housing benefit system, this figure has the potential to increase sharply, and homelessness is being reported as a significant concern by the third sector in Calderdale.
Because of these findings we took the decision to award a strategic grant of £20,000 per year for three years to Calderdale SmartMove, to enable the charity to increase its capacity, and help tackle the rising issues of homelessness locally.
The project has been delivering for 1 year, during that time the charity has supported 268 individuals and families. Our support has enabled the team to support 38 of those individuals and families. Of the 268, 256 are still in their tenancy a success rate of 95%.
During this period 88 individuals have joined informal lifestyle course and work clubs and on average 12 individuals, a week join the running club with 10 of these committed to running in the Great North run in October.
The running club is jointly funded by us and our Corporate supporters ABS UK. The project is designed to utilise the benefits of running as a means of boosting the mental health and well-being of the local homeless population, was launched in early 2017, is now well underway and training is targeting participants to take part in the Great North Run 2018.
Before the charity received our funding their capacity to support local people facing housing and homelessness issues was 111. Today they are supporting 161 per year which is an increase in demand/capacity of 45%.
Since the project started we have also responded to an emergency request for funding from the charity, to purchase flasks which they can provide soup and hot drinks in, warm clothes, dry sleeping bags and hygiene goods, this is due to a sharp increase in rough sleeping in the area.