Local Charities Join Together to Tackle Homelessness
A consortium of eight local organisations have been awarded £758k by Norwich City Council over the next three years to address rough sleeping and support people with complex needs in Norwich. The new project, entitled Pathways, will use the combined strength of its members to offer a pioneering & collaborative model that has not been seen before.
The consortium members will take the innovative approach of stepping out of their individual organisations to form one team that will take the new service to those people who need it most. The Pathways team will comprise of experienced and qualified specialists, employed by the partner organisations and delivered from hubs around the city. These team members will rotate between locations across the city – including the Arc drop-in at Pottergate, early morning street outreach and at City Hall – meaning that rough sleepers and vulnerable people can access the help they need at whatever point they make contact with the service. Each team member will have an individual specialism – including younger persons advice, welfare and housing, criminal justice liaison and a qualified nurse, bringing health services direct to the street.
St Martins Homeless Services Manager Maria Pratt said, “Our service will offer support throughout a person’s journey from rough sleeping into accommodation and beyond. People often access support at a very chaotic time and our service will provide a ‘constant’ in their lives, allowing people to access the elements of the service most appropriate to them at that particular time.
Our partnership will offer a service at the first point of contact that is appropriate, effective and realistic, by working in a collaborative way we will reduce duplication which is essential for crisis resolution and the individual’s prospects”
The desired outcome is for vulnerable people with complex needs to achieve long term stability. This assertive approach has been designed with the beneficiaries of the service in mind and, despite the increased number of people arriving on the streets due to prison release, relationship breakdown and poverty, it is hoped there will be a reduction of the number of people who are homeless in Norwich.
Pathways will provide flexible support that is focused around each individual, to encourage a positive outcome for each person through the opportunity of training, skills development and employment.
Councillor Kevin Maguire, Norwich City Council’s cabinet member for rough sleeping, said: “Everyone involved in this innovative project recognises that homelessness is a complex issue that requires a collective approach
“As part of our strategy to reduce and, wherever possible, prevent homelessness, this funding has been awarded to these specialist charities to enable them to collaborate to provide intensive, tailored support for those most in need.”
One service, many partners
St Martins has over 45 years’ experience of supporting homeless people in Norfolk. Their outreach service supported 865 people last year. The charity has several accommodation options, including the hostel at Bishopbridge House. They also have a training centre on Westwick Street providing both short and longer term programmes focussing on mental health and wellbeing.
YMCA Norfolk provides accommodation and support services to young people aged 16 – 25 in 113 units within the city centre. The charity builds on the strengths of each young person, engages them positively, then assists them through a pathway of housing options.
The ARC at Pottergate has provided a drop in service for 19 years and receives up to 1300 visits per month. It is a safe non-judgemental and friendly environment for rough sleepers have a warm meal and drink. The Salvation Army has developed an effective advocacy service for those who feel unable to speak for themselves
NHS City Reach Health Service
City Reach provides healthcare services for people who find it difficult to visit mainstream GP services. The service is provided for people who are homeless, those at risk of being homeless, sex workers, ex-offenders, substance mis-users, travellers and asylum seekers.
Mancroft Advice Project (MAP)
MAP has 26 years’ experience delivering a service to support 11-25 year olds across Norfolk. Their drop in advice centre in Norwich sees 480 young people per year for housing advice alongside mediation. Each worker has a core advice offer of welfare rights, housing, employment, training and education.
The Feed supports people who have complex needs through the provision of training and guidance to help people get in to work. They have strong links to the large food, hospitality and retail industries in Norwich for people to gain experience and work.
Shelter advises on average 850 people per year in Norwich. They have 23 years’ experience of providing housing advice to people in the city. They operate a National Homelessness Advice service and 66% of interventions are related to multiple complex needs.
Future Projects is a Norwich-based charity with two dedicated community support venues within areas of high deprivation and single occupancy council residential properties. Their team give information, advice and advocacy for clients as well as access to volunteering and work placement opportunities.