Empowering People Inspiring Communities (EPIC)
Empowering People Inspiring Communities is a registered charity which provides good quality housing for people on low incomes. They are located in the Bentilee area of Stoke-on-Trent and by the end of March 2017 they owned 942 flats (of which 22 are leasehold) and 154 houses. Their vision is to extend their range of good quality housing choices available for people on below average incomes.
Their acquisition programme commenced in 2008, and as of 31 March 2017 they have acquired 149 properties. Their gross investment over the period being £12.2 million, comprising of £9.7 million investment from their generated surpluses plus an additional £2.5 million of grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency and Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Their programme has targeted empty properties, helping to alleviate blight in many neighbourhoods within Stoke, and more recently in Newcastle-under-Lyme.
Their current Business Plan outlines their intention to grow their stock portfolio from the current total of 1,074 units to 1,246 units by March 2021. This growth will be accomplished through the purchase and refurbishment of existing properties for rent; with a particular focus on helping families into owner occupation through their Rent to Buy programme. The growth programme requires loan funding in the region of £7 million to enable this growth. A £5 million loan having recently been secured from Triodos Bank will facilitate the first phase of growth.
Their procurement and investment programmes are promoted through newsletters; Facebook and EPIC's website.
In order to support tenants EPIC adopt the approach that continuing to build upon tenant profiling data, ensures that EPIC is best placed to pro-actively identify and support those most vulnerable ahead of the welfare reform changes. Every new applicant who is not currently in work benefits from a personalised coaching programme, which explores current issues, future aspirations and preparing for a tenancy.