We provide weekday open access sessions for people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, where they can obtain free health, housing and welfare advice. Since 2011/12, we have seen a 38% increase in the number of visits to our centre.
Our team of project workers, made up of trained counsellors, housing specialists and social workers, ensure that each new client arriving at the centre receives individual support to ensure that any immediate needs are dealt with and any actual or impending crisis is addressed.
A full assessment of an individual’s housing, health and welfare needs is undertaken when appropriate and together a personalised support plan is developed to help individuals into suitable accommodation and support services. Our Project Team work to ensure that anyone new to homelessness is fast tracked into accommodation as soon as is practically possible.
In 2017/18, our centre Project Team worked with 463 individuals during our weekday open access sessions, where on average we see between 55-65 individuals each session.
Prevention is an important part of our work and we provide advice on welfare benefits, debt and finance, tenancy issues and impending evictions and unemployment. Help at this stage can often enable individuals to get their lives back on track and avoid homelessness.
As recent welfare reforms have had a detrimental affect on the people we work with and are frequently unable to meet the stringent demands required to maintain and establish their claims without assistance. Addressing these issues often involves detailed, protracted and time-consuming work and our Welfare Advice service provides personalised, specialist support for clients to help ensure appropriate benefit claims are established and maintained. Since its launch in 2016, the service has worked on 550 cases, achieving an 88% success rate in re-establishing claims and winning over 90% of appeals.