A HOMELESSNESS charity is “moving in” to affordable housing, after successfully becoming a registered provider.

Durham Action on Single Housing (DASH) has been helping homeless people in the Durham area for nearly 50 years, by providing accommodation and support.

Becoming an official registered provider (RP) of social housing paves the way for DASH to build or refurbish properties to rent out as affordable homes for local families.

Social housing is cheaper to rent than privately rented housing and usually provides a long-term tenancy, giving tenants the opportunity to put down roots in a local community.

Social landlords are often local authorities or housing associations.

Registered providers are licensed by the Regulator of Social Housing, which aims to achieve a viable, efficient and well-governing social housing sector, able to offer homes to meet a range of needs.

The process of becoming a provider is rigorous and about 80 per cent of organisations that begin an application do not achieve the status.

Les Punton, chairman of DASH, said: “DASH is about providing people with a home and helping them stand on their own feet.

“We already do that through our accommodation and support, and becoming a RP will allow us to help more people, with more varied housing needs.”

“We could not have achieved RP status without the fantastic support of our trustees and staff. This is a great endorsement for us all.”

“We look forward to using our new social housing arm to help meet the housing needs of more people across County Durham.”

Durham County Councillor Kevin Shaw, cabinet member for strategic housing and assets, said: “DASH provide invaluable support for people with a housing need across County Durham so we’re really pleased that they have become a registered provider of social housing.

“It will allow them to carry out their services for the community in a more efficient way, with a hands-on approach.

“We look forward to working with them to address housing needs within local communities and to see how those services can be best delivered to our residents.”

DASH is always keen to hear from volunteers interested in supporting its work.

For more information on volunteering or becoming involved as a trustee visit www.dashorg.co.uk or call 0191-384-5073.