Southampton Street Intensive and Resettlement Service provides a variety of
settings in which we support people with intensive needs who have a background of homelessness and/or offending. The aim of the Service is to provide up to 6 months intensive support to enable residents to achieve a degree of stability and move on to more independent accommodation. Our residents have high and/or complex needs and often live chaotic lives. They may have alcohol or drug issues, mental health issues, offending backgrounds. Most have histories of failed accommodation and display challenging behaviour from time to time.
The Service comprises of a 26-bed hostel with full board and 24-hour double staff cover, a 10-bed hostel with lower levels of cover and 10 self-contained flats at two locations within Southampton. All services benefit from emergency 24-7 cover from our Operational Security Team. The Service strives to be the most innovative service in Southampton by its commitment to staff training, development and client involvement. Our referrals for housing and support come via the Street Homeless Prevention Team who refer rough sleepers direct from the streets, or Patrick House’s Assessment Centre who refer people they have assessed as requiring our Intensive Service.
With high levels of staff cover, we are able to take risks and house people who have failed in accommodation in the past. We view our accommodation as the person’s home; and work hard to achieve positive, planned move-ons instead of negative evictions. Our committed staff team seek to ensure good relationships with residents and treat residents in a non-judgemental way, so the client feels comfortable in seeking support around their needs. We celebrate successes, however small, and build on them with the client. For example, many of our residents have a history of losing accommodation due to rent arrears, so by working with their keyworker to pay rent weekly and avoid eviction, the client can then move on to address previous rent arrears and gain budgeting skills.
Each resident has an allocated keyworker who supports them to identify areas in which they need help, and to make plans to change their lives for the better. Initially this often involves accessing specialist substance misuse services (including the Society’s Bridge and Drug Intervention Programme services), NHS services to get help with mental or physical health issues and providing support to access benefits. Our in-house needle exchange helps reduce infections from blood-borne viruses, and our Naloxone programme has saved the lives of several overdose victims over the last year.
Our approach is to offer residents a wide range of opportunities to make good decisions and experience meaningful activities. So as well as providing help to develop life skills such as budgeting, cooking, numeracy and literacy, we help them to broaden their horizons by organising activities such as camping trips and visiting and using community-based resources and in-house activities such as our gym, art group and IT suite. Many of our residents access sporting activities provided by Saints4Sport. We also help people to improve their self-confidence and decision-making, and build bridges with families, ex-partners and children where appropriate.
Right from the start of their stay we consider move-on options with residents and ensure they have a live housing application with the local authority. Most will move on to supported housing with lower levels of support, including services managed by the Society, which will generally focus on the next steps; moving to independent accommodation and accessing training and paid or voluntary work.
Our Resettlement Worker also seeks out private sector rented accommodation and helps our residents move in, furnishing the accommodation and sorting benefits, utilities etc. and then ensures that each client has sufficient support in place after we withdraw. This may be provided by other organisations, for example the Family Mosaic Homelessness Floating Support Service.
The Southampton Street Intensive Service provides a positive, safe and welcoming home environment for our residents and good feedback from residents, partner agencies and funders shows that our service is valued and important in housing some of the most vulnerable people in the city.
People who wish to access the Society’s supported housing should start by contacting the Southampton Street Homeless Prevention Team by phoning: 023 8083 2343.