Enterprise Homes Group
The Enterprise Homes Group is a new charity that is pioneering an innovative approach to tackling homelessness. For the first time, it is bringing together five complementary streams of activity behind a single vision – to make homelessness history, leaving no one behind in the process.
Based in Wolverhampton, Enterprise Homes embraces a housing charity, a social enterprise training program, a church shelter for the homeless, a Rotary shelter bus and a new social enterprise property lettings agency – all working together to enable the homeless to realise individual pathways that lead to a new start in life.
Chief Executive Matt Lambert commented, “Many projects are doing great work in homelessness, but few are looking at the bigger picture and partnering with others to make sure that no-one gets left behind. Historically the pathway out of homelessness has been fragmented – our solution has two key elements, a unified pathway underpinned by a consistency of relationship which acts as a relational gel, scaffolding the journey. It’s about building community, creating somewhere to belong.”
The unified pathway embraced by Enterprise Homes begins at Wolverhampton’s Church Shelter which provides a place of safety, rest and recuperation for rough sleepers. The culture is one of ‘being family’ and acts as an incubator for forming relationships. It is the quality of relationships that encourages its ‘guests’ to take the first steps down the Group’s unified pathway. c
The Rotary Shelter Bus is an extension of the Shelter, with 10 individual pod spaces with provision for pets incorporated. It combines overnight accommodation with some clinical space so that it doubles up as a health/mental health provision for the city as well.
Developing skills is a key part of the journey and ReGen is a not-for-profit training subsidiary set up to provide free residential training courses and is akin to a residential apprenticeship that combines free accommodation with training in a trade. It was established to enable people to move on from the Shelter and acquire relevant trade skills.
The pathway includes supported accommodation and ‘Hope Into Action Black Country’ is enabling churches to provide homes for the homeless, providing affordable accommodation with support through Empowerment Officers and befriending teams from partner churches. It increases a resident’s capacity to maintain their tenancy and build a positive network of support.
A new social enterprise lettings and property management agency will make more affordable accommodation available in the private sector. It will work with landlords who would otherwise be wary of taking in former homeless individuals, helping to fill an existing gap in the marketplace.
In its vision to make homelessness history, Enterprise Homes recognises that there will always be issues that lead to people losing their home but where this happens it should be short-lived, and in many cases it can be prevented altogether.