Case Study

Keen to address problems and failures, capitalise on successful aspects of collaborative work and share my practical research findings for others to learn from. In 2014, I began working with an investor team to design a radical, new ‘model’ affordable housing project. Aligning contributors from each of the public, private and voluntary sectors, the aim was to demonstrate a solution which would officially evidence measurable value for multiple beneficiaries. Assisted by three of our original pilot scheme tenant participants, a plan was formulated, and an innovative homelessness address scheme designed. It was a project which was created for the homeless, by the homeless.

As the team worked to transform a derelict empty property into six state-of-the-art studio apartments with additional semi-shared space, they succeeded in designing a warm, comfortable environment which would safely accommodate the transition of vulnerable ladies into more fulfilling lives. The operational techniques utilised formulated the beginnings of the ‘Social Property Investment’ strategic address towards homelessness and the accommodation was utilised as part of Threshold and New Charter Housing Trust Group’s official ‘Housing First’ pilot scheme, which was later highly commended for its innovative approach at the 2017 UK Housing Awardslxxvi.

Housing Innovation: Accommodation provided for Threshold’s award winning ‘Housing First’ pilot scheme

Striving to expand on potential collaborations between contrasting housing and support providers, I sought to ‘bridge the gap’ between existing services with the aim of sparking a movement of effective inter-sector collaboration. The project’s infrastructure was hosted via an open-source resource hub where I synthesised, simplified and promoted our work, wishing to inspire confidence in other practitioners to operate in a similar fashion. I wrote e-guides on good practice, recorded my learnings and knowledge into video seminars and spoke professionally at a wide range of events. I consistently shared aspects of my work across social media with the aim of inspiring evolution in housing-led response towards homelessness; in Manchester, the United Kingdom, and beyond.

To date, I have directly and indirectly supported over 100 homeless individuals with homelessness assistance and housing-related needs, evidencing government savings in excess of £2 million via my unfunded practical research worklxxvii. I have guided individuals in gaining and retaining tenancies within the private rented sector and assisted with the building and rebuilding of relationships with property owners and managing agents to prevent planned evictions. I now work independently to promote excellent industry practice, empowering industry stakeholders across the public, private and voluntary sectors, anywhere in the world, via:

  • Free-sharing of ‘Social Property Investment’ strategies;
  • Professional research, knowledge exchange and mentoring programmes;
  • Network development opportunities, educational tools, strategy design and consultancy supportlxxviii.

Citations

lxxvi. http://thp.org.uk/news/housing-first-pilot-highly-commended-uk-housing-awards (Web version unavailable)
lxxvii. Monetary saving calculated via ‘Making It Count’ Cost Effectiveness Indicator Tools by Crisis https://www.crisis.org.uk/data/files/publications/MakingItCount_web.pdf (Web version unavailable, now is a general link to their homeless hub)
lxxviii. https://www.socialpropertyinvestment.co.uk (Web version unavailable)

Copyright © by Amy.F.Varle, January 2018.
The moral right of the author has been asserted.

The views and opinions expressed in this report and its content are those of the author and not of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, which has no responsibility or liability for any part of the report.

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