Winners and Commended Projects of 2017
Project Vista wins Prestigious London Homelessness Award and £30,000
Project Vista, a joint initiative of Network Homes and New Horizon Youth Centre has won the London Homelessness Awards 2017, and the first prize of £30,000.
The Camden, Islington and Hackney based project works with young people from across London to help them access housing while they receive support to gain employment.
Shelagh O’Connor, New Horizon Youth Centre CEO, said: “Project Vista demonstrates that with determination and innovation from partners we can begin to make a difference to the rising numbers of young people ending up homeless. Network Homes has shown a commitment to work with us at NHYC to make this project a success. The holistic approach has ensured that it’s not just about accommodation but achieving sustainability and a future for homeless young people. This model can and should be replicated with other housing and homeless projects – together we can transform the youth homelessness landscape in London”.
Helen Evans, Chief Executive of Network Homes, said: “Helping to tackle homelessness is a big part of what we do at Network Homes and we are so proud to work with NHYC to help vulnerable young people. Winning this award is great recognition of the success of Project Vista so far. We hope the project will continue to thrive for years to come. We are committed to our social purpose and helping to tackle homelessness so it is important for us to play our part in providing homes for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.”
Simon Dow of the London Housing Foundation chaired the judging panel for this year’s awards. He said: “The judges were very positive about all of our finalists but in the end felt that Project Vista demonstrates what can be done when support agencies and housing associations work together. The London Homelessness Awards is really proud to award them first place.”
The guest speaker at the winners’ ceremony at City Hall this week was James Murray, Deputy Mayor for Housing. He spoke about the importance of rough sleeping and said it was at the heart of the Mayor’s work in dealing with housing and homelessness.
Other prize winners, winning £20000 and £10000 were the Resettlement Team at Prisoners Abroad and The London Borough of Southwark’s Homelessness Trailblazer project.
More details of the winning projects, and the three highly commended, are set out below:
Network Homes in partnership with the New Horizon Youth Centre (NHYC) launched Project Vista in 2016 with the aim of providing affordable accommodation, employment skills and independent living support to 16 – 21 year olds across London who have been made homeless. The project gives young people the stability of a quality home to live in, whilst receiving help to improve their employment situation and prepare to move into the private rented sector.
There are currently four flats which are owned by Network Homes and managed by NHYC with 20 young people living in the flats in Islington and Hackney. Each flat has bedrooms with en-suite facilities and there are communal kitchens and living areas.
The rooms are allocated to young people by NHYC and individuals are able to live in the property for one year, with ongoing training, employment and life skills support from the Centre. After this time, NHYC helps them move into the private rented sector or they are assessed for other Network Homes accommodation.
We provide practical and emotional support to British citizens imprisoned overseas, continuing this support after release and return to the UK – usually to London. For those without family or friends, homelessness and destitution is a high risk.
On arrival, our Resettlement team ensure every person has temporary, short term accommodation; a daily food allowance until benefits are secured; enough clothing, toiletries and other essential items; a travel card and basic mobile phone with credit to maintain contact with our office; and access to medical treatment through a local health centre for those with urgent physical and mental health problems.
In the medium term, our team help secure permanent accommodation for their clients and support them to find employment or training – important steps towards stability, security and successful integration. The full range of our services, both abroad and in the UK, help to sustain people through to their release and after their return. By promoting good health, well-being and a positive outlook, we mitigate the effects of harsh prison conditions, including the deterioration of physical and mental health.
We are the only organisation supporting the immediate and future needs of these individuals including their health, wellbeing, training and employment prospects.
The trailblazer service is testing the Homelessness Reduction Act. This involves early intervention to prevent homeless, the establishment of a No First Night Out and Housing First Models to prevent people from sleeping rough, and a commitment to end rough sleeping and the use of Bed and Breakfast accommodation by 2020.
The service employs people who have experienced homelessness and has corporate support across the council and buy in from the voluntary and legal advice agencies in Southwark.
The council was the first to use Personal Housing Plans to prevent homelessness and ensure customers can access training, employment and education. This led to the development of Pathway Plans for vulnerable customers and linked into the Housing First model.
The model has reduced sofa surfing and evictions from family and friends. It is the first of its kind in London and led to the development of the Accommodation Finding Service for all homeless customers.
A partnership hub developed with Women’s Aid, Job Centre Plus and Shelter will deliver independent advocacy services for customers. This has been combined with a self-help framework to empower customers access a range of services, and a resettlement service for vulnerable customers.
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families: Early Years Mental Health Support for Homeless Families
We provide a multifaceted approach to supporting families in temporary accommodation to care for the psychological needs of their children.
Our empowering, innovative service-user designed projects and peer-led services serve to not only improve the mental and emotional wellbeing of the parent and child but to increase the service-user’s capacity to engage with other services. The service includes our Baby Clinic, Parent-Toddler Groups, Empowering Parents, Empowering Communities project all taking place in hostels as well as our Parent Advisor Panel which is a platform by which parents with experience of temporary accommodation help us to identify projects which will benefit the community.
In the short term these projects provide families with more space to build on their parent-child relationship, to work with trained mental health professionals and begin to build a support network. In the longer term, reduce feelings of isolation, depression and helplessness, improve confidence in parents in not only their ability to parent, but also in other aspects of their lives including in terms of their ability to obtain and maintain employment and engage with other services to support them in their housing needs and their child’s needs.
Evolve Housing + Support: CR Zero 2020
Despite the availability of homelessness support services in Croydon, the borough has some of the highest levels of rough sleeping in London.
In response to this we launched CR Zero 2020 which is the first example in the UK of the local community, faith-based groups, statutory services, local businesses, concerned citizens and third sector providers working together to find the solutions to ending chronic rough sleeping. We believe that by bringing together this unique diversity of experience, insight and resource, we can be more effective at finding innovative solutions.
CR Zero 2020 is part of a European-wide initiative, developed by BSHF and FEANTSA, to end chronic rough sleeping across Europe by 2020. The campaign is delivered in partnership with Crisis, Expert Link, Homeless Link, Thames Reach, faith-based groups and endorsed by Croydon Council.
CR Zero 2020 is unique because it works on the principle that rough sleeping effects entire communities; the community has both the responsibility and resources to end it. It seeks to influence system wide change across many sectors, including health, housing, criminal justice and education.
We believe that by working together with the community we can end chronic rough sleeping in Croydon by 2020.
women@thewell: Outreach support to women whose lives are affected by prostitution
women@thewell works with women whose lives are affected by prostitution. We work across London and beyond. The women we support are extremely vulnerable which impacts all aspects of their lives, including housing which is often tied in to being enslaved in the sex trade.
This new outreach project specifically aims to make contact with women involved in street based position at an early stage, to help them find the support they need and to begin the journey to exit prostitution. The team go out at least three times a week to find and meet these women where they are, either through tip offs, intelligence or working alongside partners like the Metropolitan Police and Community Safety Teams.
The proactive nature of the work means that we engage with women before they make decisions that lead to destitution and homelessness. There are very limited numbers of women only bed spaces suited to those who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and the project works with partners across London to address this need.
Our aim is to provide holistic, long term, trauma informed support to enable these women to exit prostitution. Among many other things, finding safe and secure accommodation is a key stepping stone in this journey.