Latch refurbishes empty, run-down houses to provide supported housing for people who are homeless or in housing need in Leeds. All tenants have a support worker to help them to make positive changes in their lives.We provide training opportunities for unemployed people working alongside Latch staff on the property refurbishments.
Working in collaboration with our partners we completed the Empty Homes 4 programme which has seen us purchase, refurbish and let 18 empty properties over the year. This project has created new high quality homes for our tenants and enabled us to provide training and volunteering opportunities to long term unemployed people. We also secured funding from a range of sources for the Latch Creates Project, creating four one - bedroom flats and providing training for unemployed people. We have purchased a rundown five bedroom property that will be converted into the four self-contained flats over the coming year.
The vast majority of tenants moving
on from Latch supported housing have
moved on to independent living and
also achieved additional outcomes
including health and wellbeing, money
management, employment and skills.
This work has been complemented by
our coach who works with tenants in
innovative ways to build their skills
We continue to receive many
applications for supported housing
and are doing our best to help as
many people as possible. The demand for our homes continues
to exceed supply and we plan to
address this by continuing to increase
the number of homes we let.
The Property Management Service has continued to improve in all areas, with all repairs handled satisfactorily, full compliance with legal requirements and long term maintenance tasks completed.
We surpassed our 2% target for rental income lost to arrears, achieving a smaller loss of 0.3%
People participated in volunteering and training activities on the property refurbishments.
Of these have completed formal Health and Safety training and registered on the Construction Skills Certification scheme.
Who We’ve Helped
Rachel was referred to Latch as a young mother with a newborn baby. We immediately picked up that there were issues around domestic abuse from her partner who didn’t live with her. Initially Rachel found it hard to understand the impact of her partner’s behaviour on her daughter and didn’t want to end their relationship.
After a lot of support around healthy relationships, Rachel disclosed an incident to her support worker which triggered a referral to a Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC). (This is a meeting where agencies draw up an action plan to help manage the risk of harm to people experiencing domestic abuse). Measures were put in place to protect Rachel, and subsequently her partner was arrested and went to prison.
Whilst he was in prison, Rachel developed more independence and confidence in her ability to live without him. When he was released and the abuse resumed, she was able to understand the impact on both her and her daughter and ended the relationship. Rachel has since moved on from Latch to independent housing, does not have contact with her ex-partner and no longer has involvement from Children’s Services. As a child, Rachel had witnessed domestic violence between her parents and has taken a huge step in providing a healthier home for her daughter to grow up in.
Tomasz is from Poland and had been living in the UK for a number of years before he lost his job, then his housing and as a result end up rough sleeping. During his years on the streets he became a heavy drinker, developed pancreatitis and mental health issues. He was initially housed by Latch through the EU Migrant Project, our partnership with Simon on the Streets, which provides shared housing for homeless people from the European Union who have no access to benefits. Simon on the Streets supported Tomasz to gain Settled Status and he moved into his own Latch property in March of this year.
Since becoming a Latch tenant Tomasz has engaged with our coach and now goes cycling twice a week. This has had a huge impact on both his physical and mental well-being. He has developed confidence to address his alcohol misuse and start to make positive lifestyle choices. Tomasz now feels ready to start looking at employment and training opportunities.
Patrick is 19 years old and from an Irish travelling background. He was excluded from school from an early age, and attended pupil referral units, where he enjoyed learning construction skills like brick laying. He had been unemployed for over 12 months and wanted to gain construction qualifications and experience with Latch. He wants one day to go back to the teacher that inspired him to get into construction, and show him what he’s done with his life.
Patrick is a very ambitious young man, and has impressed us with his work ethic and 110% effort rate to everything we’ve put before him. When asked to dig a 6-foot-deep trench in clay through the cellar and garden for the toilet waste pipe – he said: “Dan this won’t be a problem” – and off he went. Patrick was successful in securing a six month paid trainee position working on Latch Creates, a project converting a huge rundown house into four one-bed flats, and started at the beginning of October.
Latch is always keen to work with other organisations to extend and enhance the services we provide. This year we started two new projects in partnership with other organisations.
A significant proportion of long term street homeless people in Leeds originate from other EU countries. People who have worked in the UK for a number of years are usually eligible for Settled Status which opens the door to them claiming benefits and getting back on their feet and into work. However this process can be long and complicated, made more difficult when people are living on the streets.
Simon on the Streets approached us to see if we could provide shared housing for this project, paid for by a grant. Starting in October 2019 with one house, the project has proved successful, with one tenant gaining Settled Status in the first few months. We have now extended the project with a second house and look forward to helping more people over the next year.
Latch and Turning Lives Around (TLA) have launched a new Housing First service, funded for three years by the Henry Smith Charity. The service provides self-contained housing plus the help and encouragement of a support worker for ten long-term homeless women with multiple and complex needs such as a history of drug or alcohol abuse, domestic or sexual violence, offending plus physical or mental health issues.
The number of women sleeping rough on the streets of Leeds has grown significantly in recent years and this new Housing First scheme will help to bridge the gap in existing local provision.
We take pride in providing housing to a diverse range of people, and aim to reflect that diversity in our staff team and Management Committee. We collect monitoring data for all tenants so that we can see whether we are reaching a wide range of people. However we didn’t have the same data for our staff and Management Committee and recently carried out an audit of our staff and board.
The data shows that we are reaching homeless people from a wide range of age groups and ethnicities and that many of them have disabilities. We have more female tenants primarily because most of our family housing is occupied by single parents, most of whom are women. We have work to do in reaching more LGBTQ homeless people.
Our staff and Management Committee could be more diverse, and we are looking at how to address this in future recruitment.
Thank you to everyone who has helped Latch in our mission to create homes and change lives, including our staff, donors, contractors, suppliers and partners.
Sharon Brown and Janet Spencer - Turning Lives Around
Jill Burns-Wildman - Housing Options
Caroline Poskitt - Housing Options
Julie Staton - Leeds City Council
Sarbjit Kaur - Leeds City Council
Leeds Interpreting Service - Interpreters
Eric Richardson and Natalie Moran - Simon on the Streets
Martyn Broadest - Connect Housing
Sue Sheard - HR Success
Christine Mclean - CMC Consulting
Johnathan Kendall - Vitamin K Design
Brent Riley - Engage
Geraldine Conner Foundation
Matthew Nice - St George’s Crypt
Audrey and Babs - Women’s Group
100% Digital Leeds
Leeds City Council
Power to Change: Homes in Communities’ Hands
Power to Change: Community Business Fund
Big Lottery Community Fund
ESF Community Grants
Management Committee members
Caleb Sutton (resigned 2019)
Lucy Fountain (resigned 2019)
Leeds Action to Create Homes
176 Chapeltown Road
Leeds LS7 4HP
Community Benefit Society