Preventing Homelessness

Research from the Housing Agency in 2015, found that “Typically, these families went through a period of less stable accommodation – often living with friends or families – before approaching homeless services.” (Family Experiences of Pathways into Homelessness: The Families’ Perspective (Dr Kathy Walsh & Brian Harvey September 2015).

The government’s Homelessness Policy Statement published in February 2013 recognises that: “Effective action is required to prevent, as far as possible, the occurrence or recurrence of homelessness. This will require a range of measures from identifying households at risk, to working with people who are losing tenancies and ensuring that adequate advice, advocacy and sustainment measures are in place in the context of overall social housing policy as set out in the Government’s Housing Policy Statement”.

Homelessness prevention is designed to stop homelessness from occurring.

  • Prevention stops eviction.
  • Prevention also helps people make planned moves into another home if they are about to lose their current home.
  • Prevention stops homelessness from being experienced.
  • Prevention can also provide access to support services if, for example, someone’s physical or mental health is the reason why they are being threatened by eviction.
  • Some preventative services can have a mediation role. This can involve helping families manage someone moving out in an unplanned way, such as a teenager in dispute with their parents, which might result in homelessness, where it is both safe and reasonable to do so.
  • Another example would be a housing advice and support service that helps someone threatened by eviction with access to legal help, or which helps people move to a new home before they become homeless if there is no way to stop an eviction. (Preventing Homelessness: A Review of the International Evidence
    Nicholas Pleace, Centre of Housing Policy, University of York).

Despite Government recognition of the need for a range of measures to be provided to prevent homelessness, local authorities in the North West are not adequately resourced to work with people who are at risk of homelessness, and North West Simon Community’s early intervention and homeless preventative services remain heavily dependent on the support of the public for badly needed resources.

Preventing and Resolving Homelessness

North West Simon Community has developed a highly mobile Early Intervention and Homeless Preventative service to support people at risk or experiencing homelessness. The objective of early intervention and homeless preventative services is to intervene at the earliest possible opportunity in situations with the potential to evolve into a housing crisis that may require a household to seek emergency homeless accommodation from the local authority. There are four key approaches that we use to help prevent homelessness from occurring in the first place and help people resolve their homelessness as soon as possible if it does occur.

Very often people will need to be supported in different ways, and our staff will work for as long as it takes to find a satisfactory solution for each induvial household.

Housing Advice and Information

Information is power – North West Simon aims to provide Housing Advice and Information that is specific to each household’s personal situation to help turn apparently hopeless problems into manageable situations.

Housing advice and information support may be as basic as help to complete a housing assistance application, or some other form. Or it can be a complex and lengthy process to support a person identify and explain the need for specialist services or to resolve a threat to their existing tenancy.

Tenancy Sustainment

Not everyone is a naturally gifted home maker – North West Simon’s Tenancy Sustainment support aims to help people keep an existing tenancy by equipping them to cope with a variety of day to day problems.

The level of support needed depends on the ability and resources available to the person, their previous life experience of living alone or with others, and the location of their home in relation to any supports they require.

Resettlement Support

Finding and moving to a secure home is one of the most stressful situations any of us ever face in life. – North West Simon’s Resettlement Support focusses on helping people to find a suitable place to live, after a period of homelessness.

If a person is living in temporary accommodation or can no longer continue to live at their current address, North West Simon will work to provide advice, guidance, and practical supports to help the household find long term secure accommodation.

Supported Housing        

Supported Housing was provided to 33 Households in the North West during 2018. The aim of supported housing is to provide long term secure accommodation to households that need some assistance in managing their tenancies.

The support is provided for as long as necessary and the tenant remains in their home after the support is withdrawn. The houses are either owned outright by North West Simon Community (21) or Leased from Donegal Co Council (12). Funding to manage and maintain the houses comes from the rents paid by the tenants.