Aster Group secures funding to help rough sleepers off the streets in the Test Valley area

Local housing association Aster Group has secured £350,000 of grant funding towards providing homes and life changing support for rough sleepers in Test Valley.

The funding, provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme, is part of a national scheme to help thousands of people who sleep rough, or are at risk of sleeping rough, into secure housing.

Aster is one of two housing associations in Hampshire to take part in the initiative providing five homes each, along with Test Valley Borough Council who applied for the funding and charity Two Saints, which will provide the tenants access to a range of other vital support services including mental health and substance misuse support.

Through the Aster Foundation, the work the housing association chooses to do over and above its landlord and development activities, the residents will be offered a range of initiatives alongside other customers, to help towards improving their future by giving them the foundations to take control. This includes support with finding employment and money management, mental wellness and resilience plus volunteering opportunities to name a few.

Louise Thorpe, regional head of housing for Aster, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be involved in this important project which will make such a positive difference to a number of lives.

“We’ve seen first-hand the impact that a safe home can have through our work with the Housing First initiative, which also helps those who have experienced rough sleeping or homelessness by providing a stable home from which to rebuild their lives. This new funding will allow us to support even more vulnerable people.”

Mike Shepherd, Group Development & New Business Director at VIVID said: “Everyone deserves a place to call home, especially one that is safe and secure. A home provides the foundations for better wellbeing and brighter futures. That’s why we’re pleased to be able to provide more opportunities for rough sleepers to have a home of their own, alongside access to crucial support services helping them get on the path towards settled and fully independent housing.” 

Test Valley Borough Council portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, councillor Phil Bundy, said: “During the pandemic, we worked exceptionally hard to understand and support those who wanted to come in from the streets, and to work with other people with complex needs who were otherwise unsuitably housed. Securing temporary accommodation was a big step, but this new grant award is a huge milestone and will complement our existing investment in front line services.

“Our thanks go to Vivid, Aster and Two Saints for their work alongside us on this bid, and the effort that will now go in to changing lives for good. We are always committed to doing everything we can to help those who need it. Providing ten further properties in the borough for people at risk of, or who may be experiencing homelessness, helps us as we move closer to our aim to end rough sleeping and provide suitable accommodation solutions for our most vulnerable residents.”

Find out more about the government funding for the scheme here.

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