The North London Early Homelessness Prevention Service has been announced as a winner of the London Homelessness Awards 2019. The final announcement of where they have been placed in the top three will take place at a special event at London’s City hall in October. We asked the team at the project to tell us some key facts about the work they do.
5 things we’ve learnt through our homelessness prevention trailblazer
- Early intervention works
In 2018/19, we worked with 568 households, a combination of families and single people, across the six partner boroughs. Over three quarters of those cases ended in a positive outcome: the risk of homelessness was ended or the households were helped to secure alternative accommodation. Most of the people we worked with were considered to be at an early risk of homelessness. Our intervention prevented a deterioration in their circumstances and allowed them to maintain employment, their school places, support networks and wellbeing.
- Early intervention is cost effective
Our service provides a cost benefit to our local authority partners. Just six households that we worked with last year required temporary accommodation which for an inner London borough can cost up to £305 a week for a one-bedroom self-contained property. We’re able to correct benefit problems and where rent arrears have accrued as a result of these problems, recover costs through the household’s mainstream entitlement to Universal Credit or housing benefit.
- The importance of holistic assessment
We learnt a lot through our pilot of the new assessment requirements and personalised housing plans which are now required under the Homelessness Reduction Act. Assessing what duties might be owed is important but it is crucial to address the underlying needs of the people we work with. To ensure our outcomes are sustainable, we link people in with a wider network of support services that are available in their communities
- We’ve made homelessness prevention everybody’s business
Effective partnerships have been fundamental to the success of our project. We’ve worked with Job Centre Plus, hospitals, National Probation Service, domestic abuse services, community mental health teams and other local authority teams like leaving care and environmental health. We’ve trained or briefed these agencies about the realistic help that can be provided under the Homelessness Reduction Act and engaged them in helping us to identify households who are at risk. By doing this we have reframed the ‘us and them’ dynamic – we work together, in a joined up, solution focussed way.
- It’s been received positively
Our service has been welcomed by our partner agencies who have given positive feedback of our approach. And more importantly, we have received consistently positive feedback from the people who used our service. As we move forward, we want to listen to them more and utilise their experience to shape how we deliver the service in the future.
For more information about the London Homelessness Awards go to www.lhawards.org.uk