Three years on from the launch of the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal, we’re looking back at what we’ve learnt. To inform how we work and influence those we work with, in order to better support individuals and families affected by violence.
The Pan-London Housing Reciprocal is a unique and innovative scheme that offers long-term and affordable housing for social tenants fleeing domestic abuse and other forms of violence. So often those who are at risk of violence who have a social tenancy are forced to make a difficult choice – they can either stay at risk or become homeless. The Reciprocal offers a third choice, one that helps them find a safe and secure home which they can afford.
We’ve learnt a lot over the past three years.
We’ve coordinated hundreds of referrals sent to us from all across London, for individuals and families who need to move out of borough for their safety. This has provided us with a unique insight of the issues across the whole city. We are now sharing that insight and key findings in our latest report: The Pan-London Housing Reciprocal: Three Years On.
Since the beginning of the scheme we’ve circulated 700 property requests for women, men, young Londoners and families at risk of violence where they live. Almost 300 people have been able to move to a place of safety. This is a great achievement. However, there are still many people waiting, trapped between violence and homelessness.
The report highlights the need for more partnership working and commitment from landlords across London.
The foundation of the Reciprocal is built on partnership working with local authorities and housing associations. Over the years these partnerships have grown to cover all London boroughs and include over 50 housing associations.
Going forward, we want to build on these partnerships and work more closely with landlords to identify achievable property targets that each landlord can commit to, based on their use of the scheme, so that the system remains fair and transparent.
The report also highlights the need for partnership working between housing providers and specialist support organisations. This includes working with Violence Against Women and Girls organisations, including those for Black and minoritised women, as well as LGBTQ+ support organisations and youth charities, to ensure tenants are supported while moving or waiting for a move.
You can watch the video which highlights the report findings, our action plan and recommendations. As well as hear the direct impact the scheme has had for individuals and families fleeing violence.
The timing of this report could not be more symbolic. The Covid-19 pandemic revealed to us all how vital safe housing is.
Recent investigation found that for the majority of those in an abusive relationship, lockdown resulted in an increase in violence and since lockdown eased, domestic abuse services keep receiving increased demands for help.
Since lockdown, the lack of living space at home has been further revealed as an indicator of social inequality, and has been found to be linked with higher rates of Covid-19.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a great challenge but also a unique opportunity for Government to create a one-in-a-generation investment in social housing to help the country come out of the crisis, as outlined in the National’s Housing Federation’s campaign.
In a time when the need for housing support for those fleeing violence has never been as high, collaborative schemes such as the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal are vital. to provide an alternative route to safe and sustainable housing for those who need it.
Domestic Abuse, Housing and Policy Manager