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Council scheme aims to help homeless workers leave hostel life behind

The first participants in a scheme to help homeless people out of hostels and into a job and a proper home are already working, but that’s all part of the plan – to provide encouragement for people to find employment.

Croydon Council’s Gateway service is working in partnership with Causeway Irish Housing Association (CIHA) to deliver the scheme, which aims to give homeless people – or those at risk of homelessness – an extra incentive to get a job, and ultimately a council home.

In so doing, the scheme also aims to free-up hostel spaces for others to use. The project also aims to reduce the expense of hostels, which include council-run specialist one-to-one support.

Under the scheme, 13 homeless men have moved from local hostels into a shared house in central Croydon that offers cheaper rent and greater independence as they move back into work. If successful, the council says it will explore similar arrangements with third-sector partners to help more homeless men and women.

The partnership with CIHA means the tenants of the three-storey flat will pay around £200 less rent per month than in the private sector, and up to £300 less per month for staying in a hostel. CIHA is a not-for-profit organisation providing temporary accommodation primarily for young single homeless people in London.

The 13 people, aged 25-55, are working in sectors from construction to retail, and were chosen because they met the council’s project criteria of having a job, no rent arrears and modelling good behaviour.

If they still have a job after six months and get on well with their flatmates, the tenants will be eligible for a council flat.

The council said it is also exploring other ways of providing more accommodation for homeless people through partnerships with social landlords and developers.

Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes, regeneration and housing, said: “Our Gateway service has already supported thousands of people at risk of homelessness, and our goal is to give them greater financial independence and confidence.

“That’s why this accommodation promises to be a crucial stepping stone for people getting into work and out of hostels, and I’m very pleased that we’re joining forces with CIHA’s third-sector specialists on our common goal of tackling homelessness in Croydon.”

Joanne Murray, CIHA’s director, said: “We’re delighted to be able to assist Croydon in resettling people from supported accommodation through this project. We’re impressed by how proactive the council has been in finding solutions for single homeless people and we’re very pleased to be a part of it.”

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