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“Everything is so overwhelming when you are homeless.” introducing a new £10m grant scheme – Helping End Homelessness

The National Lottery Community Fund is launching a new £10m grant scheme called Helping End Homelessness – aimed at addressing the causes and impact of homelessness. The scheme will encourage charities and agencies to work with local authorities and with people experiencing homelessness, to address the causes of homelessness. The grants, which are made possible thanks to National Lottery players, will be aimed at trying to stop people ending up on sofas, in bed and breakfasts and even the streets by intervening in a positive way. To access the grants, organisations will need to work together and involve people who are already experiencing homelessness and those at risk, in planning strategies to avoid ending up in a perilous and stressful situation.

Jonny in Wrexham knows first-hand how stressful being homeless is:

“My wife and I split up, that’s how this started for me. I wasn’t addicted to drugs then. I slept in doorways, on sofas, in a tent and I have truly never been so cold. It wasn’t until I met Dr Sankey (the GP who started the Wrexham Community Care Collaborative) that I got the help I needed. I was her first patient at her first session and in a 20 minute conversation she turned my life around. She helped me see that I was depressed for a reason. I am the kind of person who says “No, no I’m fine”, but I wasn’t fine, I was 8 stone, I was suicidal, I had poor mental health, I was addicted…I needed help!

“Everything is so overwhelming when you are homeless but because at the Community Care Collaborative you can access all the support you need in the same building, I was able to get the help I needed without trudging miles between the different places to see the different organisations.

“I have a flat now, I have been volunteering and painting, my painting is in the local library, I’m really proud of that.”

Local photographer Ceridwen Hughes from Same but Different, has been working with the Community Care Collaborative talking to and photographing people who have found themselves without a home, Ceridwen says

“Many of the people I spoke to find one of the hardest aspects to be the way in which people treat them, and in many cases choose not to see them and walk on by without a second glance. This pilot photography project has been designed in order to encourage people to see each and every person as an individual rather than simply seeing a ‘Homeless’ group of people.”

Jonny’s story shows how complex the experience of homelessness is. The National Lottery Community Fund already gives grants to organisations – such as the Community Care Collaborative and Same But Different- helping people deal with the impacts of homelessness, also to organisations which address some of the complex issues which can lead to homelessness, the new fund however, is intended to work in a different way. Robert Roffe Head of Knowledge and Learning for the Fund in Wales explained:

“We want to encourage organisations including charities, local authorities and housing associations to work directly with people with experience of homelessness to collectively stand back and look how they could use the limited resources on offer to them to try and stop people becoming homeless in the first place.

“Our research suggests that there are opportunities to engage earlier and more effectively. We want to use our grants to encourage everyone working in the field to assess if things can be done better; that’s why we are offering a grant for the development phase of the project. We hope the £10m available in grantswill act as an incentive to encourage groups to work together to look at this.”

Research suggests that if services were better coordinated, vulnerable groups such as 18 year olds moving out of local authority care, people leaving prison and people effected by domestic abuse could be supported more effectively to avoid the trauma of becoming homeless.

To apply for the grants, organisations are initially being invited to form partnerships within their region. The National Lottery Community Fund are organising three events across Wales in February to put organisations in contact with others in their region, interested groups should contact The National Lottery Community Fund for details. The partnerships will then submit an expression of interest in the first phase of funding. The total of £10m will fund projects lasting five to seven years.

The National Lottery Community Fund hope that Helping End Homelessness may encourage the right people to listen and to see.

Notes to Editors

Photos are available please contact us 0300 123 0735

Helping End Homelessness

This programme will award grants to strategic projects that seek to redesign services to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurrent.

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