Derventio Housing Trust to lobby MPs after opening waiting list for the first time

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Leaders from a housing trust providing accommodation for people at risk of homelessness are to join a Parliament lobby on the housing crisis - after their vital service has had to open a waiting list for the first time.

Derventio Housing Trust, which started as a night shelter more than 20 years ago and now provides more than 650 bed spaces of accommodation across five counties, is joining the Homeless Link lobby of Parliament on Tuesday March 5.

The trust is currently providing housing to 45 people in Warwickshire. As well as providing accommodation, Derventio Housing Trust also supports residents with a range of schemes to help with issues such as addiction and poor mental health.

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Derventio assistant strategy director Jackie Carpenter and funding and development manager Penny Wiltshire will be travelling to London to lobby MPs about the housing situation which is making it harder for Derventio to help those most in need.

Derventio Housing TrustDerventio Housing Trust
Derventio Housing Trust

Now Derventio is inviting members of the public to get in touch with any questions they would like to ask MPs about homelessness issues.

MPs who have agreed to talk to Derventio represent areas of the UK in which the trust is providing supported housing.

Jackie Carpenter said there were several key issues putting considerable strain on the housing market, which the organisation will raise with MPs.

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Firstly, Derventio Housing Trust would like to see Margaret Thatcher’s famous ‘Right to Buy’ initiative immediately scrapped because of how severely it has affected council housing stock – an issue for Derventio because it means residents are having to wait too long when they are ready to move on from its supported housing.

Jackie said: “Right to Buy was always going to deplete council housing stock which is exactly what it has done. What it means for Derventio is that when residents are ready to move on from our housing, we are finding they are having to wait months which can have a very negative effect on someone’s confidence and mental health. We had one lady who felt so rejected after having to wait so long on the housing list – despite being told she was at the top – that very sadly she fell back into drug and alcohol use as a result.

“The severe lack of social housing also means that we are unable to help as many people as we would like. For the first time in more than 20 years we now have a waiting list for our services. The issue of homelessness isn’t going away and we’d like to be able to help more people, but if residents are stuck waiting for a council property it makes things very hard for us.”

Representatives from Derventio Housing Trust will also discuss the issue of Section 106 funding, under which developers are obliged to provide affordable housing for homes schemes of a certain size.

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Derventio would like to see this provision changed so that developers must provide ‘social rent’ housing – as affordable housing is based on the market rate for an area, rather than what is actually affordable for many people, especially those who are homeless.

With Homeless Link, they will be calling for 90,000 new social homes a year.

Jackie said: “The private rental and housing markets are simply broken at the moment, as I’m sure a lot of people have experienced for themselves. Rents have soared, there is a severe lack of available housing, and this is as usual affecting the worst off in society the most. We’d like to see big changes so that people who are experiencing severe struggles can be helped – and that should benefit the economy of the whole country too. It helps no-one if people are having to be housed in B&Bs and hotels because suitable housing is simply not available.”

Anyone who would like to contribute questions for Derventio Housing Trust to pose to MPs regarding homelessness can get in touch via their website or email [email protected]