Safer London has been announced as a winner of the 2018 London Homelessness Awards. They have set up a brand new agreement between London councils allowing people to move away from their current home – where they are at risk – to a new area without losing their tenancy rights. We asked Ciara, who works at the Family Justice Centre, a Croydon based domestic abuse centre run by a multi-disciplinary team for her views on the scheme. She supports high risk survivors of domestic abuse to access safe housing and tells us what the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal has meant to her and her work.
“Working with the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal team at Safer London has literally changed the lives of the women I work with. Having the opportunity to move quickly and safely out of their danger area and into new safe homes is an indescribable feeling for them. It’s changed their lives. One of my clients was virtually a prisoner in her own home, she was unable to leave for fear of being attacked and her children were unable to attend school. Through her successful move with Safer London she now feels safe again and has begun to rebuild her life without fear.”
“Before the days of the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal I used to try desperately to contact other local councils to request swaps for my high risk survivors of domestic abuse, mostly unsuccessful. Safer London managed to bring together London Councils and Housing Associations alike to work together to protect and keep safe women whose lives were at risk. The process of application from start to finish is simple and easy and working with the team I’ve always found the communication to be open and more importantly quick. Partnership working is so important, and I feel my partnership with Safer London is one of the most successful and this is because the staff who work for this outstanding organisation are passionate about what they do. I can always rely on the staff to respond quickly and with the right information when I’m supporting someone who needs advice immediately.”
“The scheme has supported my work by ensuring my high risk survivors have more options open to them when needing to move. Not all women are able to stay living within their current borough, that choice taken from them by their perpetrator. Without Safer London and the work they do their only option would have been to leave their secure tenancy, make a homeless application elsewhere or try to find a Private Licencing Agreement. This scheme gives my clients hope and I love being able to tell them about it knowing it allows them to feel like they have choices again. At the Family Justice Centre we have an excellent working relationship with our Housing Options Team at Croydon council and I have already set up a pathway for women to be able to move quickly and safely in borough through the councils internal management transfer process and now I also have an excellent pathway set up for women who need to move safely outside the borough! Thank you Safer London, your organisation actually saves lives.”
The final order of the top three, and the allocation of the prize money (£30000, £20000 and £10000), will be revealed at a very special event at City Hall on 18th October, with the prizes presented by James Murray, Deputy Mayor. For more information go to www.lhawards.org.uk.