Lack of Housing Associations knowledge on UTA creates barriers rehousing vulnerable adults

One of Justlife’s main aims is to rehouse residents of Unsupported Temporary Accommodation (UTA) into more safe, stable and secure environments. The people we work with are homeless living in UTA and often feel forgotten, they want to move out but struggle to be accepted as a ‘priority’ by Housing Associations, leaving them living in insecure and substandard accommodation. One of the main challenges is that those working for Housing Associations are unaware that this group of people exist and therefore fail to understand the true extent of the dire situation they are living in. Often when we visit Housing Associations to explain the utterly appalling and insecure living conditions present in UTA, they then understand that their priority in the queue for moving has been allocated too low and usually increase their priority, moving them up the line to be moved. This then makes it much easier for the people we work with to get offered a place and move out of UTA. It is simply a matter of lack of understanding around the conditions that our service users are living in which needs to be addressed.

We recently visited a local housing association in Manchester to explain the situation of residents living in UTA and this was their response:

Thank you for you comprehensive description of “B’s” circumstances. As a result of the information enclosed I have been able to increase their points to a higher level than anticipated at interview… I have read a little more about your organisation and it is obvious you are doing great work and we welcome any future appropriate referrals you many have.”

It is great that we have managed to get the message across to this local Housing Association to help this person move out of UTA, but more needs to be done. This shows that this system isn’t working and that we’d have to continue to fight for each service user’s priority band to be changed in order for them to move out of UTA. This wastes time and resource. All Housing Associations need to acknowledge that the people we work with are homeless and be made aware of the completely unacceptable living conditions of UTA. This simple act of improved communication would make Justlife’s aim of moving people out of UTA quickly much more attainable, as it would remove one of the many barriers to safe, stable and secure accommodation our service users face on a daily basis.