Fife housing group adopts groundbreaking new approach to aid homeless people into work

© SuppliedBill Banks , Cllr Judy Hamilton, Laurie Naumann, and Fife Council housing access and homeless manager Gavin Smith.
Bill Banks , Cllr Judy Hamilton, Laurie Naumann, and Fife Council housing access and homeless manager Gavin Smith.

Kingdom Housing Association is pioneering an innovative new project aiming to break the vicious circle of homelessness and unemployment.

It will simultaneously give a homeless person a job, a home and support with any complex needs or barriers to sustaining their tenancy.

Earlier this year, Kingdom was the first employer in the UK to guarantee putting on a shortlist for its job vacancies any applicants who meet the essential criteria and who have been registered homeless in the preceding 12 months.

Kingdom is now breaking new ground with the Naumann initiative.

Named after Laurie Naumann, a founding member of Kingdom Housing Association and its current vice-chair, the initiative is designed to help into work and decent housiong, people who are unemployed homeless.

The first role Kingdom is filling through the scheme is a tenancy sustainment worker.

The successful candidate will support other people who have experienced homelessness help them make the transition to take up a home with Kingdom.

The vacancy has attracted considerable interest from homeless people.

Kingdom, which provides housing for around 100 homeless families each year, held a support to promote the initiative to partner organisations and to provide help to potential applicants.

Chief executive Bill Banks said the group was not looking for someone with housing experience, as it was more about recruiting someone who understands the issues impacting on homeless people.

He added: “As well as the direct services we provide which help tackle homelessness, Kingdom believes that we should also use our position as an employer to supplement that.

“The stigma that sometimes comes with homelessness means that gaining employment can be difficult for homeless people.

“Through our guaranteed shortlisting scheme and the Naumann initiative, we are sending a clear message that homelessness will not be a barrier to working with us.”

At a time when homelessness was rising across Scotland, Fife’s housing convener, Labour councillor Judy Hamilton, congratulated Kingdom on its approach.

“It is compassionate in its approach and sector-leading.

“I hope that other housing providers can learn from it and roll it out more widely, and I look forward to working in partnership to support it,” she said.

Mr Naumann added: “Experiencing homelessness has many more challenges than simply not having a roof over your head.

“It can lead to a loss of self-esteem, social isolation, financial challenges and a lack of structure in day to day life.

“Employment helps resolve all those issues so, through the Naumann initiative, we will address all those issues and, I hope, help to transform the life of the successful applicant.”

The current vacancy being filled through the Naumann Initiative closes on June 14. More details can be found on Kingdom’s website.