Southwark Council wins further award for preventing homelessness

1 August 2017

An inner-London borough fought off stiff competition from over 30 other entries to be shortlisted for one of three awards, which has already gained Southwark Council a share of £60,000 to contribute to further homelessness prevention work.

The Homelessness Trailblazer Pilot has been shortlisted in the London Homelessness Awards, alongside two other projects: Prisoners Abroad Resettlement Team and Network Homes and New Horizons Day centre Project Vista. The three shortlisted projects will share the £60,000 prize fund (£30,000, £20,000 and £10,000 for first, second and third prize), to be announced in October.

Southwark Council is already renowned as a leading, award-winning authority in homelessness prevention and has been singled out in the past as a trailblazing borough, offering a critical friendship to other authorities wishing to emulate the successful service.

The Trailblazer service is testing the Homelessness Reduction Act. This involves early intervention to prevent homeless and a focus on the very root of the issues affecting its residents; such as family breakdown, the establishment of a No First Night Out and Housing First models to prevent people from sleeping rough, and a commitment to end rough sleeping and the use of Bed and Breakfast accommodation by 2020.

The service employs people who have experienced homelessness themselves and works closely with the voluntary and legal advice agencies in Southwark, to draw together expertise on a range of complex issues.

The council was the first to use Personal Housing Plans to prevent homelessness and ensure people at risk of losing their homes can access training, employment and education. This led to the development of Pathway Plans for vulnerable customers and linked into the Housing First model.

The model has reduced sofa surfing and evictions from family and friends. It is the first of its kind in London and led to the development of the Accommodation Finding Service for all people who become homeless.

In a letter from the London Homelessness Awards to the council confirming the win, it was noted that “The judges were very impressed with the commitment shown by [the] team working on this service.”

Cllr Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing, said: “Preventing homelessness is the key to the issue – prevention is much better than cure, so nipping issues in the bud before they become a desperate problem is the answer. I am hugely proud of the team and their efforts to strive for excellence in this service, to support people when they need it most and keep people off the streets and in safe homes.” 

Simon Dow is the Chair of the judging panel London Homelessness Awards.  He said: “The panel were extremely impressed with the quality of entries this year which demonstrates yet again what an excellent job organisations across the capital are doing to help people who are homeless.  It was a tough choice to get to six but we think these projects show real innovation, sustainability and commitment to help reduce homelessness in London.”

The team will be presented with their award at a ceremony on October 18.

Page last updated: 01 August 2017