- Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation grants hyh £40,000 to fund full time Tenancy Sustainment Worker and part time Dual Diagnosis Worker
- Both roles offer housing support and debt advice – it is anticipated this will be in demand due to the benefit changes threatening to make the problems worse
- Taking into account the cost to services and the community of failure of a tenancy, hyh has potentially saved services within Letchworth £160,296 in the past year
A charity which stops young people slipping into homelessness by offering housing support and debt advice has been awarded a £40,000 grant after warning benefit changes threaten to make problems worse.
Herts Young Homeless (hyh) will use the grant to fund debt support and other crisis management services as more young people find their income reduced under new Government benefit rules.
Over the past year hyh has seen a rise in complexity of cases, often with young people experiencing domestic violence and family breakdown.
Debbie Wood, Head of Health and Specialist Services at hyh states “This funding will help us to continue to offer much needed support for young people in Letchworth, enabling them to remain in their homes and supporting them to access jobs, education and other community services.”
The grant from the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation will pay for a Tenancy Sustainment Worker and a part-time Dual Diagnosis Worker who supports people with complex needs, often mental health or addiction problems.
In the past year, the two hyh workers alone have prevented 50 young people from becoming homelessness In Letchworth.
Those helped include a young man who struggled to cope after his mother died from cancer last December. He suffered mental health problems and was ill-equipped to live independently, running up £3,500 in debts. hyh are re negotiating his debt payments and helping to lower his expenditure.
Another young woman, with a history of homelessness, was struggling to maintain her tenancy having suffered depression since her mother died when she was 16. hyh helped her register with a GP so her depression could be treated, and referred her to the Community Mental Health Team for additional support and therapy. She is still receiving support from hyh services and is currently in the process of looking for employment.
Alastair Stewart, Head of Charitable Projects and Partnerships for Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, states “These are people who need help to get established on their own. Many young people can rely on their families, but for others Herts Young Homeless offers crucial support.”
Fiona MacDonald, The Tenancy Sustainment Worker, helps young people stay in their homes by offering debt, career and benefits advice as well as help with family and relationship problems.
In the past year, Fiona has worked with 40 young people and the core reasons for their referral were:
* financial concerns 54%
* domestic violence 18%
* issues with parents 12%
The majority of clients referred to the service are in rent arrears, at risk of eviction or living in inappropriate accommodation, such as on friends’ sofas. Taking into account the cost to services and the community of failure of a tenancy, the charity has potentially saved the services within Letchworth £160,296 in the past year.
The Dual Diagnosis Worker helped a further 10 people with complex needs. Across the county cannabis is the major contributing factor in half the cases of substance misuse.
The charity warned a new requirement to access benefits through the internet is likely to complicate matters. Many of their clients do not have internet access at home, public internet provision is poor and clients need personal information to hand when completing forms.
Notes to Editor:
Letchworth Heritage Foundation
- The Heritage Foundation first gave hyh a grant in 2005 and have maintained their support, giving £298,872 in total, before the latest grant
- hyh is an independent charity that supports young people aged 16-24 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and our health project, HHAH, works with all ages
- Last year we helped to support over 2,500 young people
- hyh run various fundraising events throughout the year, all information is found on the Charity’s website www.hyh.org.uk