The second interim report for Freedom2Work, a project dedicated to helping homeless people out of unemployment has demonstrated the success of the scheme.
The project combines a savings scheme with supported, shared housing to help participants gain employment, education or training. It is designed for individuals experiencing the cycle of homelessness and help people back into work.
Working in partnership with charity Elmbridge Rentstart, Commonweal Housing has provided funding support for the project since 2016 and will continue to do to so until the end of the pilot project in 2020.
In addition, Commonweal has also funded the independent external evaluation of the project being undertaken by Prof. Jo Richardson and her team at De Montfort University.
The interim second year report highlights that over 60% of people involved in F2W had gained paid work, whilst many more had entered education, training or a voluntary position.
As well as this, over the two years of the Freedom2Work a total of 39 out of 54 people on the project had made commitments to save varying sums of money that will go towards a rent deposit in the future. The amount saved by each individual is then matched by Elmbridge Rentstart. The total saved by participants so far is £5012.
The shared living aspect of the project is also showing to create strong friendships and mutual support, with some referring to their Freedom2Work peers as “family”.
Many of the people who have left the project remain in touch either through volunteering roles or by offering informal advice to those still taking part. They were also very positive towards the F2W team, who many are still in contact with.
One person supported by the project said, “I was unfortunately made homeless through no fault of my own and had absolutely no prospects of anywhere to live. I was recommended to Rentstart who were absolutely amazing. Within two days I had somewhere to live. Without their help I would have been living on the streets, and I cannot thank them enough.
“Since Rentstart have housed me the support has been amazing in helping me get my life back together and look for work.”
Ashley Horsey, Chief Executive of Commonweal Housing, said; “As a charity that champions innovation and learning, we are excited by the positive results shown in the year two report for Freedom2Work.
“We are pleased that this project is giving our partners the chance to deliver Freedom2Work in an imaginative and practical way helping to support the people involved and having a real impact on their lives.”