Exploring new living models to create homes and communities where people can feel known, supported and valued.

...we have been researching better solutions to homelessness and creating positive, life-giving communities.

The MakerLife Ashford’s Co-Living strand will explore new living models to create homes and communities where everyone can feel known, supported and valued – where people can thrive. 

Ashford Together was formed out of the success of the Ashford Churches Winter Night Shelter, but since then we have been researching better solutions to homelessness and creating positive, life-giving communities. Our partners at Ashford Borough Council, have housed many of our former guests, but we know that more needs to be done to prevent homelessness and to help those who have become homeless by creating thriving communities. We want to explore several ways of Co-Living – some ideas are:

NIGHTSTOP- this concept has been developed primarily for young people who need safe short-term emergency accommodation. Trained hosts provide a bed for the night in their own room, a hot meal; a shower; maybe a chance to wash their clothes. If the young person wants, the host is also there for them to talk to. Or they can just stay in their room – it’s up to them. 

(See SASH for an example of how this could work.)

Supported Lodgings- this has been implemented in other areas, primarily for young people who can’t return home and don’t know how to live on their own. Young people in Supported Lodgings live with a host for up to two years. They get intensive support from their support worker and their host. If needed, through other elements of MakerLife Ashford, we will help them get back into college, into work or training. This would be fundamental for their future prospects- learning to budget, pay a contribution to bills, shop for food, cook and clean – everything they will need to live a successful independent life. Depending on the young person’s needs, we would arrange help from other agencies, such as mental health services.

Hosting- this programme is similar to the Supported Lodgings model but is for adults.  It is an idea based on a model developed by Homeless Link, in partnership with the No Accommodation Network (NACCOM) and Housing Justice, for hosting schemes that accommodate destitute asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants but is being piloted for other adults.

Supported Housing- we are exploring opportunities of working with Hope Into Action who purchase and manage homes for the homeless in partnership with local churches, who continue to support the residents of the homes. Ashford Together would co-ordinate this support and residents would be invited to become members of the MakerLife programme.

Innovative New Living Spaces- there are several ideas for using modular homes as short term/move-on supported housing. Ideas include converting empty premises with specialised modular units or placing a ‘tiny home’ unit on vacant or hosted land – similar to the Supported Housing/Hosting/Supported Lodgings models. Another option would be to have multiple units to form a supported ‘Foyer‘.

If you are a building owner or investor who would like to make these dreams reality, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch!