Saturday, 28 February 2015

Charities join forces to support homeless

Homelessness charities have joined forces to help men and women using winter shelters gain access to support networks and services.

Staff from Thames reach and Housing Justice will be providing advice, housing and reconnection services to guests in ten winter shelters in a bid to help them get their lives back on track.

Last year, 1,200 people received shelter from the schemes but half of them returned to rough sleeping, squatting or sofa surfing once their stay ended.

The new project is being backed by £174,000 of funding over two years from the Homelessness Transition Fund.

Audrey Mitchell, Thames Reach’s director of street and hostel services, said: ‘We are extremely delighted to receive a grant from the Homelessness Transition Fund to work alongside Housing Justice to provide an advice and reconnections service in winter night shelters across London.

‘We believe this presents an invaluable opportunity to provide specialist workers to assess rough sleepers whilst they are in the shelters, link them into agencies and ensure that they receive help to get off the streets.

‘We are pleased to be working with Housing Justice on this project which will be a major boost to our efforts to end rough sleeping in London.’

Alison Gelder, Housing Justice director, said ‘It’s really exciting for Housing Justice and Thames Reach to be working together to help the winter shelter guests. Rather than moving out on the streets when the shelters close, we very much hope this will help the guests to move on with their lives.

‘It’s also an extremely important step in getting faith groups to work in partnership with statutory agencies like Thames Reach.’

Readers' comments (2)

  • Joe Halewood

    A quote from Crisis website says
    "By 2002, that number was 585, a significant reduction of around two thirds. This substantial fall was achieved as a result of the Government and the voluntary sector working together. However, between 2003 and 2009 progress stalled, as the counts hovered around the 500 mark."

    The above says 1200 accessed (winter) shelters but half of them (ie 600) returned to sleep rough.

    Apart from the fact that we only had according to officlal figures around 500 rough sleepers; then
    (a) 1200 of them couldnt access shelters
    (b) 600 could not have left shelters to return to sleep rough
    (c) 140% of all rough sleepers accessed shelters.

    Why do we only have shelters in Winter?
    Why do we allow people to leave them at all without somewhere to go?
    Why is there no legisaltion making government responsible for legally (re)housing rough sleepers?

    Or in summary is the lack of any duties here just an example of abuse that successive governments have operated and still operate to one of the most vulnerable if not THE most vulnerable 'client groups?

    Shocking, truly shocking... and the failure of Louise Casey as homeless czar sees her rewarded with 'problem families' - Oh happy day!

    And just because I feel like depressing you more - the figures - £89k per year to support 1200 people for winter (3 months) to pay for support and advice. Thats £74.17 per rough sleeper for advice and support over 13 weeks or £5.71 per week per rough sleeper

    Arent we a generous caring country!! Cameron's "Christian" Britain?

    Excuse the rant but celebrating £5.71pw for support and advice to rough sleepers....

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  • * +

    ...are only the recognised cases; countless more are 'hidden'. Whatever happened to the 'no second night out' pledge? It's good that charities are working together, but shamefully bad that anyone in a western society has to sleep on the street and can be turned away by statutory agencies as non priority.

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