MyBnk: The Money House a youth homelessness prevention scheme targeting care leavers and vulnerable young adults about to move into social housing, has been announced as the first prize winner of the London Homelessness Awards 2021.
The unique scheme teaches participants how to best manage tenancies, and has seen a 64% drop in evictions for those users at risk of becoming homeless.
For the last eight years, The Money House has been providing financial education to young care leavers at risk of homelessness in Greenwich, Newham, Westminster and Haringey. Run by the charity MyBnk, the project takes young people and places them in a simulated living environment, very much like the one they will soon be responsible for. The unique setting is staffed by financial experts and former participants who design and deliver sessions. The project is meeting a huge need as 83% of evictions are caused by rent arrears.
Nick Smith-Patel, Head of Young Adult Education, MyBnk, said:
“everyone at MyBnk is thrilled to receive this award. This project has so much potential we’re just scratching the surface – every young Londoner moving into independent living needs this experience. When it comes to homelessness, prevention is always cheaper than the cure and this award recognises the power of just-in-time intervention to stop a young person from becoming another bad statistic. We’ll be putting much of the award fund into meeting the needs of unaccompanied asylum seekers – a growing cohort, especially in Westminster.”
Ian Brady, of London Housing Foundation chaired the judging panel for this year’s awards. He said:
“Once again we had extremely good high quality applicants. So much so that for the first time in our 21 year history, the judges awarded four financial prizes instead of the usual three. We are proud to be able to support MyBnk and the other five shortlisted projects. They show that the homelessness sector in London is full of innovative, creative projects doing their best for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. We hope that these awards, and the £80,000, helps them go from strength to strength.”
Other prize winners, winning £20000 and £10000 were Camden Health Improvement; Southwark Law Centre: Homeless Patients Legal Advocacy Service and St Mungo’s: Westminster Street Outreach Service.
More details about the London Homelessness Awards can be found at www.lhawards.org..uk
More details of the winning projects, and the two highly commended, are set out below:
First Prize (£30,000)
MyBnk: The Money House is an accredited youth homelessness prevention scheme. It targets care leavers and vulnerable young adults about to move into social housing. Over a week, trained experts in four real flats across London teach participants everything they need to know to keep their tenancy. They focus on survival money management skills, understanding systems, planning for the future, and reducing financial exclusion. It has resulted in a 64% drop in evictions for those at risk of becoming homeless.
Prize winner (£20,000)
Camden Health Improvement: is a specialist homeless GP service in Camden. Since 2015 they have provided a novel, innovative and evidence-based GP Outreach programme. The impact has been to raise the average age of death of their homeless patients from 47 up to 54 years old. This is whilst the national trend has been for the age of death for homeless people to fall from 47 down to 44 years of age.
Southwark Law Centre: Homeless Patients Legal Advocacy Service: Southwark Law Centre works in partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust’s Homeless Health Team to provide advice and legal representation for homeless hospital patients. The law centre’s specialist solicitors help patients with particularly complex immigration, housing or welfare benefits cases. It also provides training and advice to the Trust’s homeless health team and other staff, so they are better able to support this particularly vulnerable patient group.
Prize winner (£10,000)
St Mungo’s: Westminster Street outreach Service work 365 days of the year early in the morning and late at night to provide support for individuals rough sleeping in Westminster. Westminster SOS provide support and assistance to anyone that finds themselves rough sleeping in Westminster. When people are housed they are then offered bespoke support so individuals maintain accommodation and do not return to the streets. This includes support with housing, health, immigration, access to benefits and reconnections where appropriate
Highly Commended Projects
Standing Together and Solace Women’s Aid: The Westminster VAWG (violence against women and girls) Housing First project provides permanent, independent housing and intensive support for 20 women experiencing long term homelessness, any form of VAWG and multiple disadvantage. Solace work to build relationships with the women and provide intensive ‘woman led’ support to help them maintain a tenancy and improve physical and mental wellbeing. Standing Together manage partnerships with a coalition of housing partners who provide units for the project.
SJOG Hospitaller Services: Olallo House is an innovative intermediate care service opened in 2008 in response to multiple tuberculosis (TB) treatment failures and preventable deaths among people experiencing homeless with complex needs and No Recourse to Public Funds. In addition to successfully supporting people to complete challenging TB treatment, Olallo is first and foremost a “home” providing holistic, trauma informed support enabling residents to realise positive changes and move on in their lives.