YMCA Together offers accommodation and support for people at risk of homelessness in Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley. The charity recently bought 10 properties with the help of a loan from Charity Bank.
More than 270,000 people are homeless in England. Most of them are sleeping rough or staying in temporary accommodation, such as hotels or B&Bs, which offer little stability. There is also still a stigma attached to homelessness, which can lead to social exclusion and make it harder for people to find work.
YMCA Together delivers a range of services across the North West, including accommodation and support for people at risk of homelessness. The charity recently bought 10 terraced houses to use as single-occupancy accommodation. The properties are located across Liverpool, rather than being clustered together in one location. As Jon Metcalfe, Deputy Chief Executive of YMCA Together, explains, “We didn’t want to create another hostel; we want people to be integrated within existing communities.”
YMCA Together was given funding from Homes England towards the cost of buying and renovating the properties. However, the charity still needed to find £800,000. YMCA Together approached several lenders but none seemed the right fit until it spoke to Charity Bank. Jon Metcalfe says, “I guess the clue is in the name, but Charity Bank really does understand charities.”
Some tenants may have experienced domestic abuse or mental health issues, or be recovering from drug and alcohol dependency. They’ll be offered a range of support, and helped to gain the skills they need to pay bills, budget and manage a home on their own. The charity expects that tenants will stay for around two years, by which time they should have the skills and stability they need to move on.
YMCA Together currently leases several of its properties but is aiming to switch to more of an ownership model. As John Metcalfe says, “If we own more of our properties, we’re not being exposed to high rents, so we can reinvest more money in projects and keep our properties at a better standard. And in the long-term, we’ll be gaining assets. Now that we’ve started our relationship with Charity Bank, our ambitions feel more real.”
“Charity Bank treats us like people rather than just another mark on a spreadsheet. We felt like a very small fish in a gigantic global pond with some of the other banks that we spoke to, but with Charity Bank, it feels like a partnership. The communication has been fantastic. I’d fully recommend Charity Bank to other organisations in the voluntary sector. We felt really supported throughout the whole process.”Jon Metcalfe, Deputy Chief Executive of YMCA Together
About Charity Bank
Charity Bank is the loans and savings bank owned by and committed to supporting the social sector. Since 2002, we have used our savers’ money to make more than 1,100 loans totalling over £400m to housing, education, social care, community and other social purpose organisations.
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