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Offering support to stay; NORCARE.

JUST over a year after joining Fabrick Housing Group, housing support charity Norcare is celebrating.

Not only has the decision proved to be the right one to secure its future success, the move has led to a range of benefits for the award-winning Tyneside-based organisation and its well-respected partners.

Just one of these advantages has been the ability to expand Norcare's vital services to boost the lives of not just its own clients, but those of its partner companies, landlords and developers Erimus Housing and Tees Valley Housing.

Since 1984, Norcare has offered help to some of the most vulnerable people in society; growing from an essential service specifically for ex-offenders to one supporting veterans, people with drug and alcohol dependencies, domestic violence victims and people with mental health issues.

Now its wealth of expertise is helping its partner companies reduce their numbers of empty properties and save costs and boost neighbourhoods at the same time through its innovative 'Support to Stay' scheme.

"The idea is that a specialist personalised support service is provided to tenants and that service is designed to sustain tenancies which might otherwise be at risk as a result of unmet support needs," says Norcare chief executive Susan Bickerton. "This is ultimately about helping people stay in their homes.

"We also know that void properties are bad for people who need a home, bad for business as they cause irrecoverable losses and bad for communities which can suffer blight as a result."

Vulnerable residents of Erimus Housing and Tees Valley Housing are identified in a number of ways and assessed, before a support plan is then tailored specifically around their individual needs for an average of six months.

The fundamental goal is to help people stay successfully in their home; extending the average length of tenancy, reducing the costs associated with empty properties, increasing the confidence and independence of individual tenants and boosting stability within communities.

What makes the service different to others is the robust evidence that is expected as a result of the current pilot. Norcare has put a great deal of investment into being able to measure and report on the outcomes of its work to ensure it can demonstrate the positive impacts. "Some people just need a short burst of support, some may have had their support removed because of funding cuts and others may have suddenly become vulnerable because of the government's changes to the benefits system," adds Susan.

"This service addresses all of those situations but it doesn't stand alone. The scheme complements the group's existing initiatives which are designed to sustain individual tenancies, deliver community-wide benefits, deliver support on a spot purchase basis for relatively short periods of time and deliver support to whole families as well as to individuals. It's all about providing opportunities for places and people to thrive and we believe we're doing just that."


Sustaining tenancies

Norcare offers support to a range of different people
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Oct 16, 2013
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