mhs homes backs scheme to support householders fleeing domestic abuse

mhs homes is taking part in a new scheme designed to provide safe, long-term homes for households fleeing domestic abuse in Kent.

We’re one of almost a dozen housing associations and local council landlords to have signed up to the scheme under the umbrella of the Kent Housing Group (KHG).

The initiative, launched in the summer, involves a reciprocal arrangement under which housing associations agree to offer a social housing tenancy to households who are fleeing abuse, but who can’t be safely moved within their own area.

We were one of the first to sign up to the scheme, using it to provide a safe, secure home in another part of Kent for a desperate family.

Sandra Paine, customer liaison officer, explained: “The family needed to move out of emergency temporary accommodation and into a home in another part of the county where they would be safe from what had been ongoing domestic abuse.

“With October being domestic violence awareness month, it was fitting that with the help of Clarion Housing we were able to find somewhere new for our tenant and her children to live, out of the local area and away from an abusive partner.

“Sending people back to their old home is simply not an option; the risk of harm is just too great. And because we have moved the family into a new rented home, she still has the security she had with us. The whole process was completed quickly and smoothly, too.”

Sandra, who said she dealt with around 30 or more domestic abuse cases at any one time, said the reciprocal arrangement was “an absolutely brilliant scheme”. She added: “The more housing providers that join the scheme, the better it will work. Because it’s reciprocal, everyone wins. Another housing provider helps our families and we help theirs in turn.”

As for the tenant: “She was absolutely over the moon,” said Sandra. “The move to a Clarion Housing home literally changed her life.”

The family from mhs homes given a chance to rebuild their life was one of three that have already been helped by the multi-agency initiative, which is being led by Lisa Clarke of Clarion Housing.

Lisa said: “We want to reduce the risk of homelessness for survivors of domestic abuse. The scheme is helping landlords move tenants into another provider’s home if they cannot find suitable alternative accommodation in their own housing stock. It means the tenant will not lose their precious social housing tenancy.”

KHG Chair Brian Horton said: “I’m very proud to see the first results of collaborative working on a coordinated response to domestic abuse across the county to protect tenants and their families at risk of losing their tenancy and homelessness. This exemplifies the convening role of KHG to make a positive impact.”