Supporting homeless people to get off the streets

From left, Greenwich Hub staff member Olotade Fabowale, Greenwich Hub manager Bianca Shand, Dr Emma Williamson psychologist from SLAM, Jeremy Swain CEO Thames Reach, Dr Jen Foster psychologist from SLAM, Katy Porter Thames Reach, Cllr David Gardner and resident Keith.

Greenwich council has launched a new centre to help rough sleepers.

The Greenwich Hub housing scheme created Thames Reach and L&Q Living will provide support for residents including psychological therapies. It aims to meet the need identified by the council for more specialist housing for the growing number of rough sleepers.

The centre in Plumstead Common Road provides accommodation for 12 people and support to help them take their first steps on their journey to independent living.

Thames Reach, though their employment schemes and Greenwich Local Labour and Business (GLLaB) will offer training, volunteering and employment opportunities to the residents.

The Greenwich Hub will provide the support to help get people off the streets.  There are  five other properties which provide lower levels of support, to help 25 residents for resettlement in the community.

Thames Reach is commissioned by the council to run the service. It works with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLAM) and others to support residents.

The borough has seen a 50 per cent rise of people sleeping on its streets in a four-year period.  The number rose to 110 in the year 2015/16 from 56 in 2012/3.

It dipped to 91 last year. Of the 28 sleepers who went to the council for help, 70 per cent had substance abuse or mental health issues.

Councillor Averil Lekau, cabinet member for housing and anti-poverty said: “This is part of our work to reduce the number of people living rough on the streets across the borough.

“It provides a safe environment where people get the opportunity to make changes and begin to move forward with their lives.

“It is a fantastic example of what can be achieved with collaborative working.”

Councillor David Gardner cabinet member for health and adult social care, said: “This centre provides an important extension of our pathway to support the most vulnerable rough sleepers move to independent living in the community.

“The Greenwich Hub is about so much more than providing accommodation. It is to provide a high level of support ranging from psychological treatments to help with jobs and training to help residents take the right steps to improve their lives.”

Resident Keith, 38 said: “This place will really help a lot of people. I am really pleased to be here. The centre will give me a chance to get help with the issues I have to deal with so I can move on with my life.”

Jeremy Swain the chief executive of Thames Reach, said: “Thames Reach are delighted to be delivering this project with Greenwich council, L&Q Living and SLAM. It will enable us to support more people to rebuild their lives and move away from homelessness.”

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