Home News Millions saved to public purse by project supporting homeless people to work and save
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Megan Fereday

Megan is Communications Assistant at Commonweal Housing.

Millions saved to public purse by project supporting homeless people to work and save

A new project is helping people at risk of homelessness into stable housing and employment, saving over £2m in costs to society, a new study has shown. 

Freedom2Work, a partnership project between the charities Rentstart and Commonweal Housing, has helped 74 people facing homelessness over three years.  

The project combines holistic, person-centred support with a matched savings scheme, encouraging residents to create a savings habit to support themselves in independent living. 

The project has supported 47 per cent of its clients into full-time or part-time employment, according to the independent evaluation by De Montfort University. Clients saved a total of £7,543 over the course of the project before matched funding.  

The project has created £2m savings which would otherwise have been spent by public services, with £1.3m saved in housing costs, and more than £700,000 non-housing costs, such as support provided for those with a criminal history, the evaluation estimates. 

The evaluation states that the partnership model and support scheme can be adapted for use by other organisations. The charities are calling for investment in housing and employment projects like Freedom2Work, to tackle a cycle of unemployment and homelessness which could be exacerbated by the economic impacts of the coronavirus crisis. 

Helen Watson, CEO of Rentstart, said: “We are delighted that our homeless clients have engaged with this project, embracing the new opportunities and working towards independent living.”

“Key to this success has been the combination of three factors: our ability to access quality private rented accommodation, creating an environment where clients are able to save and outstanding client support.” 

Helen Watson – Rentstart, CEO

Ashley Horsey, CEO of Commonweal Housing, said “Supporting and enabling the testing of innovative new models and services like Freedom2Work is at the heart of Commonweal’s charitable purpose.”

“I am pleased that Prof. Richardson and her colleagues consider that F2W is working and delivering savings – to the public purse and to the lives of so many people who are needlessly finding themselves in cycles of homelessness and unemployment. We look forward to promoting this model to organisations working to give people at risk of homelessness the freedom to work.”

Ashley Horsey – Commonweal Housing, CEO
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