Croydon Council’s pioneering approach has secured £1.4million to help tackle rough sleeping in the borough and prevent homelessness among vulnerable families and individuals.
Over the next four years, £400,000 will be dedicated to helping rough sleepers get off the borough’s streets and get their lives back on track. Working closely with local partners in the third and voluntary sector, the council will focus on quickly identifying those new or at imminent risk of rough sleeping and establish a new, dedicated 24/7 shelter with direct access to welfare services, while doubling the hours and extending the reach of outreach work.
A further £1million will be spent on preventing homelessness among some of those most vulnerable to losing their homes, building on the work of Croydon Council’s successful Gateway project. The cash will help the service to continue its work to identify and target families hit hardest by the Government’s welfare reforms and subsequently at risk of losing their homes, offering a range of services including debt management and social care assessment.
Through targeted work with individuals, their families and the schools, they will attempt to get them on a career path making them less vulnerable to homelessness in the future.
Croydon Council was awarded the cash from the Rough Sleeping Grant and the Homeless Prevention Trailblazers funds, following two bids to the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG), outlining ambitious proposals tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.
The borough has a strong track record as a trailblazer among local authorities for its groundbreaking approach to preventing homelessness, particularly through the Gateway project.
When it first launched last year, Croydon’s Gateway division became the first combined council department in the country – covering housing, benefits, debt management and social care assessment – to support families affected by the Government welfare refoms like the benefit cap and universal credit.
To date the project has helped more than 1,000 families avoid homelessness, 5,400 people to become more financially independent, and more than 600 into employment.
“These are challenging times for thousands of families and individuals in our borough impacted by the benefit cap and universal credit, and at risk of losing their home because they cannot afford the rent. We also have an increasing number of people sleeping rough on the streets, a worrying proportion of whom have mental health issues or are young people under 35. In Croydon a higher percentage of these are local people than in other areas in London.
“I am pleased that the Government has recognised Croydon’s determination to help these people and prevent homelessness, transforming the way we work through innovation. We welcome this investment and hope this will enable us to help many more thousands of families and individuals facing the prospect of losing their home, and to get those sleeping rough off of the streets and access to the services that can help them get their lives back on track.”
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council