Southwark Council teams up with leading charity Shelter to prevent homelessness

19 July 2017

Across the capital, more than 18,000 households were accepted as homeless by their local council in the past year, a rise of 42 per cent in just five years. The number accepted by Southwark Council over the past year was 891 households – a rise of 70 per cent in five years, analysis of the latest government figures shows.

In response to the demand, Southwark Council and leading housing and homelessness charity Shelter are teaming up to tackle homelessness in a new integrated way. 

The ground-breaking service, set to open later this month, will be based in Southwark Council’s homelessness office on Bournemouth Road. For the first time, Shelter’s team of expert advisers will work side-by-side with council staff to provide free and independent advice and support to anyone who needs it. 

Southwark Council has a long history of excellence and innovation in preventing and tackling homelessness - whether supporting families living in overcrowded and unfit housing, or helping people in the most desperate of circumstances who are sleeping on the streets. 
In recognition of their track-record, the Department for Communities and Local Government recently announced that Southwark Council is to be one of only three councils in England selected as a ‘Trailblazer Council’ in homelessness prevention.

Due to the council’s previous success at working in partnership with other expert organisations, they have decided to join forces with Shelter to deliver the trail-blazing service. Together, the council and charity expect to help at least 800 households facing homelessness every year to find and keep a home.

The holistic service will provide advice to people at risk of homelessness as well as those who are already homeless and living in temporary accommodation. The support on offer will include things like helping people to understand and make use of their full legal rights, support to find private rented accommodation, and offering to represent people in eviction hearings at court.

Shelter will offer people support at face-to-face appointments on a weekly basis, scheduled in line with the demand for the service and discussions with the council.

Councillor Stephanie Cryan, cabinet member for housing, said: “We are looking at all potential avenues to deal with the continuous pressure on our homelessness service. We have always believed that prevention is better than cure and we want to put the expertise of Shelter and the council together to drive this vital service forward.”

Alison Mohammed, director of services at Shelter, said: "We believe everyone should have a safe, secure and affordable home, which is why we’re delighted that we’ll be teaming up with Southwark Council on this innovative new service to help reduce homelessness in the borough.

“Every day at Shelter we see first-hand the devastating impact that homelessness has on families. We hope this integrated approach will mean fewer families have to experience that devastation by providing independent advice and support right when they need it most."

Page last updated: 19 July 2017

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