We have been supporting individuals in our Hostels for almost 40 years. Our Housing Team is responsible for supporting up to 55 tenants in 14 shared houses in Ipswich, including one house for people in ‘recovery’ (from drug misuse), called the Safe House. Tenants usually stay with us from between nine and eighteen months. We will then assist with Move On support in the first few months after they move out to help with adapting to the changes needed to sustain their own accommodation.
The houses are owned by IHAG, Ipswich Borough Council, Orbit Housing Association and Stonham Housing Association, but are all managed by IHAG. We give very careful consideration to the balance of personalities in each house, and every tenant must be able to cope with shared living.
The 14 houses are scattered around Ipswich but most of them are near to the town centre. They are either detached or semi-detached houses that have been converted into bedsits. Each house has from 3 to 5 tenants who have their own room but share a kitchen and bathroom. You would have a lockable, furnished room (bed, a fridge, small table, chair, wardrobe and chest of drawers) of your own but share a kitchen, toilet and bathroom with up to 4 other tenants.
The weekly charge in 2016/17 is £140 per week. This covers rent, heating, lighting, use of a cooker and washing machine, hot water plus £10 breakfast vouchers. The charge is reviewed each year. You may be able to get some help with the costs if you are eligible for Housing Benefit and we can help you to apply. It is important to remember that the rent is your responsibility even when you do receive Housing Benefit. The weekly cost that Housing Benefit will not cover is usually £18.50 (however this depends on the benefits you may receive) which you will have to pay.
Who can apply?
If you are over 18, living as a single person (this includes couples with no dependent children – we do have 4 rooms that can be used for couples) and you have nowhere satisfactory to live, or are about to have nowhere satisfactory to live, then you can register for accommodation with IHAG. Call in at our office between 10.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Tuesday to Friday, or telephone or complete the Contact form to send us a message and we will get back to you.
We also accept referrals made through the Suffolk Coordination Service (SCS), this service means that if you apply for housing at any other Hostel in Suffolk you can say that you would like to live in Ipswich and we will be sent your details.
We cannot house anyone immediately and we are unable to house anyone with high-level support needs. To register you must complete an application form and be interviewed by one of our Housing Team – interviews are usually within 2 – 6 weeks of you contacting us. If your application is successful then you will be placed on our waiting list. If your application is turned down, – which only happens only in a handful of cases a year out of over 300 applicants – IHAG will write to you and explain why. If you do not understand or are not happy with the decision you can discuss this with us if you want to.
When we take an application for housing we will need to verify your identity so any proof of identification such as Birth certificate, Pass port or Driving licence would be appreciated. If this is not available you need to speak to us as we can consider other forms of identification or may be able to assist in you in obtaining identification. Identification is needed at all stages of the housing process so it’s good to get it now, it can also help with getting bank accounts and employment.
The waiting time varies because it depends on when people who are already tenants move out. You could wait as little as a matter of weeks or as much as several months. We do everything we can to make the wait as short as possible and will ask you to keep in touch with us whilst you are waiting.
It’s not always possible to house all the people who register. We cannot offer you a room if:
- you would be housed automatically by the Council or other body if you contacted them
- you lose touch with us and we cannot contact you
- you find other accommodation which suits you
- you want to live with your partner but the few double rooms we have are already occupied, or
- you have rent arrears with a former landlord; however our Money Advice Service can help you to negotiate with your former landlord and once you are making regular payments to them, we will consider housing you
- our accommodation may not be appropriate for your needs
The IHAG Housing Team offers support to tenants during weekdays – Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
You and your support worker will meet regularly to think about what support you need and together we will work on a plan to achieve this. We will both review this support plan on a regular basis and will change it as you grow more used to living in our hostel and work towards finding your next place to live.
You will be encouraged to drop into the office without an appointment between 10.30 and 13.00 from Tuesday to Friday to seek help, assistance and support from members of the Housing Team on housing related and sometimes personal matters. We advise that you use the PO Box address for all your mail because it is secure and you will always be able to collect it during these times.
You can make an appointment to see a member of staff at any time Monday to Friday between 9.00 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you work and cannot meet during these times then we are able to make appointments at other times.
If you need help with managing your money there is a money advice “drop-in” at the office Tuesdays and Thursdays, where tenants can get quick advice on how to deal with critical situations e.g. your benefits stopping. IHAG’s Money Advice Service can also offer “fast tracked” appointments if the problems are not urgent or are more complex.
If you live in the Safe House you will have to attend weekly house meetings as part of your agreement to stay there. House meetings are held at other houses whenever a specific need is raised either by the tenants or the Housing Team.
Our hostel accommodation is not a long term solution and at some point, when you are ready, we will work with you to find more permanent accommodation where you will be managing your own tenancy. Social housing will be considered as will the private rented sector. Sometimes moving to another hostel which is able to support you better may be an option.
We realise that although a new home can seem exciting it can also be quite daunting. A member of the Housing Team will continue to support you for an agreed time to make sure you are able to maintain your accommodation and, importantly, know where to go for help if you need it!