HOUSING AND HOMELESSNESS – FROME’S ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Our end-of-year event at Frome Town Hall on 3rd December looked at three areas of work that FHfF has been focusing on this year: homelessness, the shortage of genuinely affordable housing in the new developments going up around the town, and working with tenants and landlords to make the private rented sector more fair and accessible. Warm thanks to everyone who came along, and to the many others who have given input and support.
During 2018, FHfF made the shift from being an unincorporated group of concerned local people into a registered Community Interest Company; successfully raised funds from Frome Town Council, the Tudor Trust and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme Charitable Foundation; and now has four part-time workers working with volunteers to deliver a range of projects designed to understand, tackle and alleviate the housing crisis in our town.
One current project is a ‘Zero Nights’ scheme to provide much-needed food and shelter for homeless people when the temperature drops below zero, including a special evening facility at Frome Town Hall which will be open to anyone who wants to come in from the cold. Over forty volunteers have come forward to run the shelter, and we’re now looking to raise £3000 to help cover costs: please support our crowdfunding appeal on:
Fair Housing for Frome (FHfF) is a grassroots organisation that began in November 2015 when a group of local people met to discuss the housing crisis in our town. Its objective is to support the provision of decent, secure, affordable and accessible accommodation in Frome for local people on low incomes who are being squeezed out by rising prices, stagnating wages and profit-led developments and practices. FHfF wants to be an example of how local volunteer-led activism can create a positive can-do attitude and enable a rural town to maintain a diverse and vibrant community despite local and national socio-economic pressures.
Based on extensive consultation with local people and with organisations already working in this and related areas, FHfF has developed a 12-point plan of achievable goals (see below). To join in our discussions and activities, please sign up to our mailings, visit our public forum and visit our facebook page.
OUR PLAN FOR 2018-2020 IS IN THREE SECTIONS:
- Publicise the services that already exist and how to access them
- Identify and fill gaps eg a housing advocate scheme for families at risk
- Campaign for affordable units within new housing developments
- Continue raising awareness and developing housing literacy in the town
Enhancing the private rented sector
- Establish a Fair Landlords club
- Set up and support a tenants association
- Promote lodging, including a Homeshare and SharedLives scheme
- Explore how to improve practice among local letting agents
Supporting tiny homes and other people-centred solutions
- Carry out a Citizens Land Audit to identify short-term and long-term sites
- Secure support from the three tiers of local government (Somerset, Mendip, Frome)
- Showcase good practice eg by hosting a tiny homes summit
- Set up a Community Land Trust and explore funding possibilities eg a local investment scheme
How to get involved :
- Sign up to our mailing list
- Join the conversation on Social Media
- Join more detailed discussions in our forum