Homeless helped in - and out - of hostels with Brent Council's new scheme
Published by Hannah Wooderson for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Local Government
'Important progress' made in tackling youth homelessness
Homeless people stuck in hostels will be given a helping hand from next week as Brent Council’s START scheme is expanded.
START – the scheme which offers housing support to anyone who needs it – is growing and will become START Plus from Monday 13th October.
START helps hundreds of vulnerable residents each year by acting as a central point of contact. Anyone at risk of becoming homeless – what ever the reason – can get in touch or be referred.
Residents will then receive support in areas such as mental health, HIV, older people or homelessness from any of the 50 organisations working with START.
From Monday, officers can also find homeless people accommodation as well as offering advice.
Patrick Okezie, START Plus manager, said: “From people about to lose their home because they can’t pay their rent to rough sleepers bedding down on Brent’s streets – START Plus can help them all.”
Recently START helped a man who was sleeping in his car for more than six months. Patrick said: “He was found a place in a hostel, we helped him claim his benefits and put him in touch with Brent in2 Work.”
Now that START has been expanded he will continue to get help. Patrick said: “We won’t just abandon him when he gets a hostel place – we’ll be there every step of the way. Once he is working or in a secure financial position we’ll help him find more suitable accommodation and move out of the hostel.”
Since it was launched in November 2006 START has helped over 1800 people.
Councillor James Allie, Lead Member for Housing and Customer Services, said: “START is a practical scheme that can stop people from becoming homeless.
“It has had a life changing impact on hundreds of residents over the last two years. We hope this expansion to become START Plus will mean even more people are helped out of homelessness.”
For more information contact the START team on 0208 937 2190 or e-mail START@brent.gov.uk