Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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12 council 'trailblazers' to offer homes and jobs advice

12 council 'trailblazers' to offer homes and jobs advice

COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT News Release (163) issued by The Government News Network on 3 July 2008

Advice on training, employment and childcare are just some of the extra services that will be on offer to people when they discuss their housing options with their local authority said Housing Minister Caroline Flint today as she announced the winners of the first of two programmes of 'trailblazers'.

The twelve trailblazers will offer a greater range of advice to people looking for housing, with some moving towards a 'one stop shop' approach of personalised advice and links to employment opportunities and training.

Currently people have to go to several different places to find the advice they need to make realistic decisions about where to live.

The trailblazers intend to change this approach by providing advice on the full range of housing options from social housing to shared ownership to privately rented properties, linking this with wider employment-related advice to ensure that people are fully informed and able to make the right choice for their individual circumstances.

Speaking at the "Focus E15", an East London foyer run by East Potential that provides support, training and accommodation to young people in housing need, Housing Minister Caroline Flint said:

"I've seen at first hand the real difference that can be made by giving young people access to both housing and employment advice and we want this opportunity to be available to everyone. These new trailblazers will do just that. They will be a stepping stone to independence, giving people the advice they need to find training and a job as well as a home."

Each of the trailblazers will get up to £350,000 to develop their housing advice services, making links to employment advice and other services in accordance with their locally identified needs. The funding will enable local authorities to create advice services tailored to the needs of their local area and local clients, away from the one size fits all approach.

One winner, Croydon, plans to link housing advice with learning and training services through a scheme called 'Broadening Horizons,' bringing new skills and expertise to frontline housing staff. Two officers based in the central housing advice centre will go out and about in the community to provide advice and assistance to those in need. Other trailblazers plan to offer IT lessons or hold a weekly job club at the housing office, enabling people to learn about their housing options while brushing up on skills such as CV writing, interview skills and job search assistance.

The twelve trailblazers will also take on a mentoring role, sharing best practice and support with around 20 councils that will receive funding to kick start their own enhanced housing options schemes in 2009/2010.

Notes to Editors

The twelve local authority Trailblazer winners are:

1) Camden
2) Croydon
3) Greenwich
4) Hammersmith & Fulham
5) Southwark
6) Norwich
7) Nottingham
8) Kettering
9) Blackpool
10) Calderdale
11) Ashford
12) Bournemouth

John Hills report 'Ends and Means: The Future Roles of Social Housing in England' (February 2007) suggested that authorities could offer more integrated housing and employment advice to tackle worklessness. The successful councils will offer a broader approach to housing advice and employment advice to ensure that people are more aware of all the options and opportunities available to them.

On 20 March we published 'Expanding Choice, Addressing Need, Addressing Housing Need through the Enhanced Housing Options Approach', ( which set out the government's vision for the future of housing options services.

Bids for the second programme - the Enhanced Housing Options Programme - are currently being assessed.

East Potential is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. A subsidiary of East Thames Group, East Potential is responsible for the Group's foyers. It provides accommodation for more than 450 young people and support, training and employment opportunities for them and for other local young people hoping to break the 'no-home, no-job' cycle. It is also responsible for the Group's corporate relationship, neighbourhood regeneration and social responsibility programmes.

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