CATHERINE Taylor has made it her mission to help break down barriers to housing for those seeking a home.
Catherine, ForHousing’s Neighbourhood Services Manager, is a huge advocate of the Greater Manchester Housing First pilot and has worked hard to provide a number of homes to the pilot as it helps people off the streets.
She’s under no illusion about the strain on housing stock as the UK deals with a housing crisis that has gripped the nation for a generation – but she is sure that removing barriers to those most in need is the right approach.
She said: “Being part of the GM Housing First pilot has been inspiring. It shows what can be achieved when people work together.
“We’ve worked with the Social Impact Bond and now Housing First to help those who need it most.
“And through both programmes, it has changed me as a person, but helped to change the way ForHousing helps people every day.
“We have worked hard to remove barriers for people to get a house. We have changed the way the staff works and they have been very receptive.
“We must be flexible so we can adapt to people’s needs to help them get a home. There isn’t just one solution. Registered providers need to think outside of the box to help homeless people overcome obstacles to getting a home.
“When we let one of our properties to Housing First, we get to know the HF worker and take time to introduce ourselves to the person being rehoused.
“This helps to build a relationship and find out how they want to be communicated with. It’s very simple when you think about it.
“Getting a person rehoused isn’t the end of the journey, it’s just that start. To see people start to get their lives back on track gives me a feeling that I can’t explain.
“Some of the people we have rehoused have done incredibly well, and that has a knock-on effect for their family and society.”
She added: “The Housing First pilot is about people and helping them. It’s not about process or numbers.
“And the work being done by the pilot is massive. It adds more weight for Housing First projects to be widespread across the UK as it really does work as tenancies are sustained.
“The pilot is doing incredible work. It’s a real honour to be part of it, and it’s proving that by changing the way we do things on a bigger scale we can make a difference that benefits the person and society.”