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:
Essex Floating Support
Essex County Council working in partnership with the District, Borough and City councils have commissioned Peabody to provide an Essex wide support service aimed at preventing homelessness.
We see the Essex Floating Support Services as a key strategic driver which contributes to the prevention of homelessness and provides targeted support services within a range of accommodation for vulnerable people in Essex.
The service offers a
• Targeted floating support to individuals and/or families presenting with complex needs including but not limited to Substance Misuse, Domestic Abuse, Offending etc
• Early interventions to a wide range of individuals and/or families with less complex presenting issues where earlier and less intensive interventions will prevent deterioration
• A flexible service to the identified target groups to ensure opportunities to “step up” and step down” are provided for
• A clear service discharge processes that promote a positive and sustainable outcome with clear access back to the service in the case of emergency or crisis
• A service that can develop opportunities for Peer Support and Mutual Aid, and volunteering opportunities (possibly in conjunction with other services)
Support Activities could include:
• Supply utilities to customers
• Understanding tenancy contracts
• Dealing with tenancy related matters
• Property inspections
• Deal with ASB/nuisance
• Health and safety and building security for customers
• Communal repairs
• Assessment, letting and settling in
• Customer engagement and social inclusion/signposting
• Voids management
Tel: 0800 28 888 83
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.
If you are concerned about someone over the age of 18 that you have seen sleeping rough in England or Wales, you can use the StreetLink website to send an alert to the local authority or outreach service for the area in which you have seen the person, to help them find the individual and connect them to support. It is important to note that if you think the person you are concerned about is under 18 please do not contact StreetLink but instead call the police. https://www.streetlink.org.uk/
Rough Sleeper Outreach Service
Essex County Council, Chelmsford, Maldon, Braintree and Epping Forest have come together to commission a Rough Sleeper Outreach Service. The service works directly with rough sleepers on the street for the 4 districts with the aim of encouraging and supporting rough sleepers through the difficult transition into more stable accommodation.
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.
EHOG Partner referral form 18-7-18
Winter night shelter receives quality mark for excellent practice: