Having a roof over your head is a fundamental human right but, for many social housing tenants in the UK, the conditions are appalling. Official statistics show that 13 percent of social housing properties have failed to meet the decent homes standard.
This makes it all the more urgent for companies like Cromwood Housing Group, a social enterprise helping to safeguard tenants by increasing the number of social housing properties which are liveable.
In the 20 years since Cromwood was founded in 2002 it has housed and supported nearly 35,000 people across London and Greater Manchester.
“Helping those who needed accommodation is very much the driving force,” Kevin Murphy, head of housing at Cromwood, told The Big Issue.
Cromwood provides housing for people experiencing homelessness, rough sleepers, domestic abuse victims, and asylum seekers. In 2021 the organisation — which is supported by Big Issue Invest, The Big Issue’s social enterprise investment arm — purchased 135 homes through the Greater London Authority’s [GLA] rough sleeping accommodation programme and £19.5 million investment from a pension fund. This allowed them to house hundreds of rough sleepers in permanent one-bedroom flats in London, at the discounted London affordable rent rate, set by the mayor’s office.
While Cromwood has many strands in its social mission, providing accommodation for rough sleepers is where the team feels it has the biggest impact.