The three local authorities have applied under a new government scheme to become ‘homelessness prevention trailblazers’, committing to go further and faster with housing reform and to support more people to avoid a homelessness crisis.
Interest in the Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) scheme was high, with only 28 out of a 122 bids successful. Sutton, Kingston and Merton collectively bid for a total of £1,004,790 to develop a range of new, innovative approaches that will radically reshape the way homeless prevention is delivered in partnership with the voluntary sector.
Central to the bid’s success is the backing of homeless charity SPEAR, who will provide early interventions across all three boroughs.
Councillor Jayne McCoy, Chair of the Housing, Economy and Business Committee at Sutton Council, said:
“Homelessness affects individuals and families in communities across the country. In Sutton we are taking a proactive approach to help tackle this issue. This Trailblazers funding from the DCLG will help us work more closely with households at risk of homelessness. This will result in fewer families needing housing in expensive, imperfect, temporary accommodation. I look forward to working with our partners in Kingston and Merton to help address homelessness across our region.”
Councillor Cathy Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Housing at Kingston Council, said:
“This is a significant amount of funding coming our way from central government. It presents us with an enormous opportunity to deliver better outcomes for homeless people in our boroughs. The funding requires us to think and work differently, and to be more proactive in preventing people from becoming homeless in the first place. The circumstances that result in a person becoming homeless vary widely. Faced with a housing crisis, locally and nationally, we cannot afford to miss opportunities to help people stay in their homes.”
Merton Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Environment and Housing, Councillor Martin Whelton, said:
“The Homelessness Reduction Bill means all councils will have to make changes in this area. Homelessness is a highly complex issue and we welcome the funding to help us look at ways in which we can help prevent people from becoming homeless if they are at risk of losing their home. As trailblazers, we can be instrumental in the way homelessness prevention is delivered in the future, across England.”
A summary of successful bids can be found online at www.gov.uk