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.