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Homelessness

What is it?

Preventing homelessness remains a key priority both nationally and across Essex. It is vital that we prioritise the needs of the most vulnerable in order to prevent damage to individuals and communities and to avoid higher costs for local services later on. The causes of homelessness are complex and not only relate to housing but also health, family life, work and training.

Tackling social exclusion by improving access to stable accommodation is now widely accepted as a critical step to modernising healthcare. A Ministerial Working Group was set up to tackle homelessness and having published its findings, a new Act of Parliament – the Homelessness Reduction Prevention Act came into effect in April 2018. For further information see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/homelessness-reduction-bill-policy-factsheets

What Are We Doing?

Homelessness Trailblazers

Essex County Council working in partnership with Essex Housing Officers’ Group, Department for Communities and Local Government, District, Borough, City and Unitary Authorities, has launched the Homelessness Trailblazers.

The project has secured £890,000 to fund 10 specialist prevention mentors, working across the County in a unique initiative to support at risk individuals and households. Mentors will also be able to offer service development in their specialisms and provide personal planning in preparation for the new homelessness prevention duties introduced by the incoming Homelessness Prevention Act.

Through the collaborative efforts of the Project, we intend to capture a countywide picture of homelessness and intervene to prevent homelessness occurring in the first place. The mentors will be available to offer support in all aspects of homelessness and will have individual specialisms including: Offenders, Mental Health, Young People, Lettings & Agents, Homeless Families, Out of area placements and People with severe and multiple, disadvantages.

Homeless Referral

Under the provisions of section 213B of  the Homelessness Reduction Act Councils are expected to deal with referrals from Public Bodies and consider dealing with referrals from partner agencies on those people that are  Homeless or threatened with Homelessness. Essex District Councils have now set up designated e-mail accounts to deal with these referrals –  dutytorefer@NAMEOFCOUNCIL.gov.uk. To ensure that the referral form (see sample form here) is acted on promptly it is important that accurate up to date information is provided.  Once the Referral form is received by the District Council then arrangements will be made to contact the household so that their  case can be progressed at the earliest opportunity.

Basildon Emergency Night Shelter

Locally, Basildon Emergency Night Shelter (BENS) has received national recognition for its excellent practice in supporting rough sleepers.

The shelter, which last winter opened for five nights each week in churches across the borough, has achieved the Housing Justice Quality Mark (HJQM) for Church and Community Night Shelters for Excellent Practice.

The accreditation scheme assesses volunteer training, health and safety, referrals and links with other homelessness agencies, and data collection and sharing.

Key Links For Further Information

Homelessness Trailblazer

http://www.essexfuture.org.uk/prevention/troubled-lives/trailblazer/

Homeless Referral

EHOG Partner referral form 18-7-18

Living Well Essex

https://www.livingwellessex.org/at-home/finding-somewhere-to-live/homelessness/

Winter night shelter receives quality mark for excellent practice

Winter night shelter receives quality mark for excellent practice

https://www.housingessex.org/basildons-award-winning-emergency-night-shelter/

Current Sub Groups:

  • Homelessness
    Mo Slade, Basildon BC
  • Homelessness
    Siobhan Pierce, Essex CC
03 Latest Homelessness News
Housing Essex Conference
21/11/18

Housing Essex Conference

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Essex Homelessness Trailblazers shortlisted for LGC Award
07/11/18

Essex Homelessness Trailblazers shortlisted for LGC Award

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Housing Strategy Stakeholder Event
20/02/18

Housing Strategy Stakeholder Event

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Basildon’s Award winning Emergency Night Shelter
20/12/17

Basildon’s Award winning Emergency Night Shelter

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