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Charity aims to plug homes gap

PUBLISHED: 23:58 26 June 2003 | UPDATED: 14:03 03 March 2010

MORE than 150 homeless people were found new places to live last year by a charity working in the Suffolk Coastal area.

But the Coastal Homeless Action Group (CHAG) says there are still too few homes available for rent, and is now hoping to become a provider of quality affordable homes for rent for the district.

MORE than 150 homeless people were found new places to live last year by a charity working in the Suffolk Coastal area.

But the Coastal Homeless Action Group (CHAG) says there are still too few homes available for rent, and is now hoping to become a provider of quality affordable homes for rent for the district.

The group saw a year of intense growth in its workload as it prepared for the implementation of the government's Supporting People programme.

In addition to its work in finding homes for the homeless, giving help and advice on benefits, it will now be working to provide safe, independent housing for many people who had a failed tenancy as their reason for homelessness.

Director Jim Overbury said CHAG had dealt with 528 referrals, housed 154 people and then given on-going support to 117 people in the past year.

He told the annual meeting at the Shire Hall at Woodbridge that the charity had recruited a full team of 15 for Supporting People in addition to its advisers.

"Looking to the future, I see a period of consolidation and focus on quality – we are committed to being the best provider of support services," said Mr Overbury.

"We take this very seriously as, being a non-government organisation, many do not take us seriously and we need to prove them all wrong.

"I hope too that we can start providing quality affordable homes for people in our district.

"This move will provide homes for our clients and income stability for CHAG."

CHAG's trustees have decided to turn the charity into a limited company because of its ever-growing budget – an income of more than £500,000 last year.

Trustees' chairman Rev Christopher Leffler said the group's continued use of the rent up front fund had meant more properties had become available from landlords, but there were still not enough.

"This is our local view of the national problem of too few houses for too many people, so that prices go up and there are too few available for clients at our end of the market," he said.

"We hope to be in a position to contribute to the stock of affordable housing for rent in the not too far distant future, but these things cannot be done in a hurry."

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