In response to a growing housing crisis affecting armed forces, ex-armed forces, police and NHS emergency personnel in the region, a new not-for-profit organisation has partnered with a leading social business and housing association to improve access to new homes and give stability and security to those who have worked under extremely stressful conditions.
Step Forward Housing, a non-for-profit organisation for ex-forces and emergency personnel, is also aiming to combat the plight of many people returning from service and encountering homelessness, joblessness or social exclusion. These are often consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder, common amongst ex-service men and women.
Working alongside First Ark, a social enterprise and social investment company based in the North West, Step Forward Housing have agreed to purchase homes in Tytherington. The organisation will then make them available to armed forces/ ex-armed forces personnel, as well as emergency workers such as the fire and ambulance services, members of the police and NHS staff.
Christopher Metcalf, representing Step Forward Housing, said “Step Forward Housing was set up after we recognised the need for high quality homes to be provided to those who have risked their lives in the UK and around the world. The aim is that these homes will provide them with a base; giving them the stability and security they need to start a new life after serving in the armed forces.
“Agreeing to purchase these homes is a big step in the process of ensuring that those who have suffered in the name of conflict and emergency response have the shelter they deserve.
First Ark is the parent company of Knowsley Housing Trust, a housing association that manage over 14,000 properties. By working alongside First Ark and drawing on their expertise, Step Forward Housing plan on making 200 homes available for shared ownership and rental this year, a figure set to increase year upon year. Although they are currently only working in the North West, they have their sights set on expanding nationally to alleviate the housing crisis facing military and emergency personnel.
Tony Cahill, Executive Director at First Ark, said: “As soon as Step Forward Housing approached us, we knew they were right for us. They share in our vision of conducting fair business that puts people over profit, and they are committed to delivering social impact in everything they do.
“Together, we’re going to help as many military, ex-military and emergency workers into high quality affordable accommodation as possible. We have the right infrastructure in place to be able to offer a successful management and support operation for Step Forward Housing’s tenants, and we’re eager to put that to good use. ”
If you are a current serving of former serving member of the military, you can apply for a house at a discounted rate by contacting them through their website. To learn more about First Ark and their work to support positive initiatives across the North West, head to www.firstark.com.