Connection Support has been running the Housing Support Service in Oxfordshire since its foundation in 1995 and never has the need for a homelessness prevention service been greater. In recent decades, social and political factors have driven up demand for housing support services and the combined impacts of a shortage of affordable housing, cuts to statutory services and the global pandemic have resulted in a system that is ‘traumatised’.
The service is delivered by Floating Support Workers, using a person-centred approach, to enable clients who are at risk of homelessness to maintain their tenancies and access services to avoid entering the homeless pathway. Before COVID, approximately 25% of clients were supported through the digital service and, during the first lockdown, the team transferred all the clients online and continued to provide the service throughout the various phases of the pandemic.
A recent review of the service was conducted using a combination of an online survey, quantitative analysis of reports and qualitative interviews with stakeholders, for the three years from April 2018. It identifies the strengths of the service during this period and learnings which will inform ongoing improvement as commissioning moves to an Alliance model.
Talking about the results, Chris Keating, CEO, said:
“We are very proud of our Housing Support services delivered by Connection Support. We are delighted that the exceptional work our teams do in supporting people and families as they face eviction and homelessness has been recognised in this independent review of our Oxfordshire service.
The long-lasting impact of being evicted and made homeless can be devastating for people, affecting physical and mental health, future life chances for their children, and the wellbeing of the wider community. Whilst it’s impossible to put a value on human wellbeing, it is remarkable that in the last three years our Oxfordshire team have supported 99% of their clients to avoid eviction and homelessness, saving the public a staggering £21 million.”
You can view the full report here.