A Brighton and Hove project that helps homeless people find the jobs they want has received financial backing from a national community fund.
Accommodation for Work, a project run by BHT Sussex, is the only one of its kind in the area, providing temporary lodgings and support for homeless people who are either working or seeking employment. BHT Sussex is a housing association and homeless charity which provides support for rough sleepers across the county.
The project has now announced that it has been awarded three years of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund.
The initiative has been running for ten years, and so far has housed over 300 people in Brighton and Hove. Residents are supported by key workers who help them to explore their employment options, by identifying their skills and goals and ensuring they can access training, voluntary placements, and jobs. Over the last year 76% of its residents have been in paid work, despite the challenges caused by the pandemic.
The project also offers residents holistic support, so that they can focus on mental and physical well-being whilst looking for or remaining in work, and also seeking permanent accommodation. Residents are encouraged to take the time to explore their different options and opportunities for housing and work, as this will strengthen their chances of securing longer-term tenancies and employment going forward.
One of Accommodation for Work’s previous residents is John, who became homeless last year after the breakdown of his relationship. He slept in his car for several months before seeking help and moved into the project’s accommodation. With a stable place to stay and support from the project’s key workers, he was able to retain employment as a pharmacy delivery driver during the lockdown. This also enabled him to maintain a relationship with his daughter.
Within ten months, after using the support offered to him by Accommodation for Work, John has moved into his own flat, and has achieved his long-term aspiration of becoming a postman. He commented:
My whole way of thinking has changed since moving into the Accommodation for Work project. I always thought I was on my own, but speaking to people I’ve realised that there is a lot of help out there, and that’s the important thing to know. Everyone needs help at times.
Bernadette Lynch, Project Manager at Accommodation for Work added:
We are so proud of everything our residents achieve and grateful for this further support from the National Lottery Community Fund which will enable us to help more vulnerable people find security and a home. People are often shocked that you can be in work and still be homeless, but sadly, that is the reality for too many in our city. This project addresses a pressing local need and helps people who are homeless get back on their feet in a sustainable way.
You can find out more about the work of BHT Sussex here.