New Knowsley project is helping homeless people turn their lives around

New Knowsley project is helping homeless people turn their lives around

People left homeless during the pandemic are being given the chance to get back into a home of their own thanks to a partnership between ForHousing, Knowsley Council and homeless charities in the area.

The scheme is providing six homeless people with fully furnished shared accommodation with wifi, and access to support including advice around debt, money management and welfare benefits and help with addiction and wellbeing issues.

ForHousing has teamed up with The Whitechapel Centre, a homeless and housing charity for the Liverpool Region, and Knowsley Council’s Housing Solutions Service to run the project. It gives people the chance to learn how to live independently before moving on to a permanent home of their own.

Staff get to know each person as an individual and assess what their support needs are, before working with them to put a support plan together that addresses the barriers that have stopped them getting a home.

One of the first tenants in the scheme is Stephen McCarthy (pictured above), 42, who found himself homeless after coming out of prison during lockdown last year.

“I’ve had a second chance at life and I couldn’t have done it without the help I’ve had from the ForHousing team,” Stephen said. “The accommodation here is spotless, the local area is great and I’m so thankful for the opportunity. Otherwise I’d be back on the streets.

“I’m doing Zoom classes that are really helping with my recovery from addiction and I have wifi I can use in the flat to make that really easy.

“Now I can see light at the end of the tunnel and I’m feeling more positive. Being here has really changed my life and the support from ForHousing has been amazing.

“They have done so much to help me. I had to self-isolate when I got COVID a while ago and they brought me food parcels. I know if I need something I can just ask.”

The three shared flats are furnished and provide wifi and a device for tenants to get online.

The ForHousing team work with Knowsley Council and The Whitechapel Centre to identify people with a local connection to Knowsley in need of the accommodation and to match up the right people to live together, considering their backgrounds.

The tenants then work their way through a 10-point ‘resettlement passport’ which helps them deal with budgeting, paying bills, shopping, cooking and avoiding future debt problems.

Charlie Barnard, Tenancy Support and Sustainment Manager, said: “ForHousing is passionate about tackling homelessness and believes that everyone deserves a second chance and a place to call home.

“It’s great to be working in partnership with Knowsley Council and the Whitechapel Centre on this pilot project which is providing greatly needed accommodation and support.

“We’re focused on empowering people to make their own decisions by working with them to put an individual support plan in place to help them build a brighter future.”

Councillor Tony Brennan, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development at Knowsley Council, commented: “There are many reasons why someone finds themselves homeless, but with the right support, they can go on to secure their own accommodation and live independently. I’m delighted to support this innovative project, helping residents to turn their lives around. It really is a great example of Knowsley Better Together in action — people and organisations coming together for the benefit of the borough and our residents.”

Toni Morgan, City Region Assertive Outreach Manager at The Whitechapel Centre said: “The pilot project with ForHousing has been a brilliant scheme to get people who are homeless in Knowsley into high quality supported shared accommodation.

“The quality and finish of the flats is to an extremely high standard and the ongoing support and service from Whitechapel and the TESS team at ForHousing means clients feel settled in their new homes, with several commenting that the scheme has changed their life. It is an amazing project to be a part of and just shows how partnership working between organisations can make all the difference.”

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