Tamworth Cornerstone Housing Association offers homeless young people a three-stage journey to independent living.
Young people are disproportionately at risk of becoming homeless. In the last year alone, more than 55,000 young people aged 16 to 24 in England became homeless or were threatened with homelessness.
Tamworth Cornerstone Housing Association has been offering support to young homeless people for more than 30 years. The society has a three-stage process to helping young people on the road to independence. First of all, service users move into a hostel where they have their own room, pay a service fee and benefit from 24/7 onsite support. Tenants then graduate to small self-contained bedsits. Finally, they are able to move into a one-bedroom flat, where they’re responsible for paying their own bills.
Tamworth Cornerstone has bought three of its properties with the help of Charity Bank loans totalling £743k, and has plans for a further 12 one-bedroom apartments. Owning the properties has helped the society to become more self-sufficient and able to cope with changes in local authority funding.
The society takes a holistic approach to helping its tenants, supporting them to get into college or gain an apprenticeship, learn to cook and become confident with managing finances. As a result, young people gain the skills and knowledge they need to live independently, and many former tenants have gone on to university and rewarding careers.
“We had six bedsits when we started; now we have 37 single person units. There’s never a shortage of demand and we usually have a waiting list. We’ve grown slowly to a sustainable size. Grants are so hit and miss, and it’s impossible to anticipate government policy, so you can’t rely on outside funding – you need to generate your own income. Our new development of one-bedroom flats will help to make us even more self-sustaining.”Frank Joyce, Chair, Tamworth Cornerstone Housing Association