For anyone experiencing homelessness it is difficult and confusing to know where to even start with finding accommodation. There is limited accommodation for those who are not in priority need, and most need a referral from the council or another service.
People often contact us asking what options they have, or trying to advise someone who has come to them for help. We generally recommend visiting the council housing options team or a local drop in centre who can guide people through the process and provide referrals. Services are stretched, and many want to understand for themselves what is available and what to expect, so we have been working on ways to support this need online.
Alongside people experiencing homelessness and frontline workers from Barnabus, Coffee4Craig, Shelter and others, we have taken the first steps towards an improved online accommodation hub offering advice and support for people trying to find somewhere to stay.
The new accommodation section on streetsupport.net allows those in need to receive bespoke advice by filtering the list of accommodation based on their personal situation. There is also an advice guide on the types of accommodation on offer and how to start the process of finding a safe place to live.
There are more features that we gathered from the initial workshop, and that we hope to co-produce with the network over the coming months. These features will be useful to frontline workers and volunteers in charities and other organisations by making it easier to find and share advice and information on accommodation in our cities.
Street Support, said: “We know that finding accommodation when you are homeless can be difficult, confusing and daunting. Online services can’t solve this problem, but we can try to ensure that everyone is getting the very best support and advice that is available. We hope this new online hub will help support the amazing organisations that are doing their best with limited resources, and reduce unnecessary confusion for those that need it the most.”
Next steps include adding more accommodation to the site, and developing additional features including filtering by the type of accommodation and support needs.
We also want to enable people to report when they are looking for something and can’t find any suitable options, so that we can get a better understanding of what is missing to inform decision making in the future.