Posted 12.10.2017

Rooms4U project wins prestigious innovation award

Rooms4U, a shared housing project funded by Crisis UK, has won the prestigious Pat Chown award for housing innovation.

Established seventeen years ago by Community Housing Cymru, in memory of Pat Chown who gave a big part of her life to helping others, the award and £1,000 prize was presented at the One Big Conference on 5th October at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells.

Rooms4U, hosted by Newydd Housing Association with support from the Vale of Glamorgan Council, is a 2 year pilot project in the Vale of Glamorgan that aims to help young people under the age of 35 find solutions to homelessness through shared housing.

Meeting the award criteria of ‘responding to day-to-day issues’, ‘creating new ideas to deal with common problems’ and ‘tackling long-standing issues’, Rooms4U brings young people together to support each other within a home they can call their own. Training prior to the start of the tenancy, employment support and matching criteria are all used to ensure that tenants can sustain a tenancy and look positively towards the future in a supportive environment.

Hazel Davies, Rooms4U Project Officer, said, “I am over the moon that Rooms4U has won the prestigious Pat Chown Award. When a young tenant tells you that he used to drink daily, was depressed and even thought about taking his own life, but now feels great as he has a stable home with like-minded people where he is warm, eating well and has even started job hunting, this certainly gives you goosebumps. Rooms4U demonstrating how important it is to support young people through a difficult time.”

“Offering shared housing not only provides a safe and secure environment but also leads to employment, improved mental health and a willingness to engage with local support services. I am excited to see how the project will develop over the coming months as we aim to also work with the private rented sector. The £1,000 prize will go towards the Vale Foodbank in Barry to help people should they find themselves in financial difficulty.”

John Chown, Pat Chown's husband, presents the award to Hazel Davies from Rooms4U (right) and Emma Rowlands from Newydd (left)

Homes are provided for the project by partners Wales and West Housing, United Welsh, Hafod Housing Association and Newydd with support from the Vale of Glamorgan Council. Commissioned by Crisis UK, the national charity for homeless people, the project has supported 17 young people into shared housing in the first few months of activity, and has engaged with over 50 applicants

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