Ground-breaking scheme to prevent homelessness launches in Brent

Voluntary organisations have come together to tackle homelessness for single people in Brent.

The charities, Crisis and Thames Reach, together with the social investor, Bridges, and Brent Council, have created a homelessness prevention service known as SHPS Brent with the help of government funding - writes brent.gov.uk.

The scheme is also hoping to work with Brent-based voluntary organisations such as St Mungo's, Brent CAB, Advice 4 Renters and the foodbank, Sufra NW London.

The service is being set up as a "Social Impact Bond"; a new type of agreement designed to improve performance by freeing up the voluntary sector to innovate and provide better value for money. Brent Council will only pay if the service achieves successful outcomes for single homeless people, with Bridges taking the financial risk of success rather than council tax payers.

Cllr Harbi Farah, Cabinet Minister for Housing and Welfare Reform, said: "Until now we've not been able to give enough help to most single people facing the prospect of homelessness. Now, we have the tools we need to get involved earlier and to work with people for longer. At long last, we have a real chance to protect more people from the trauma of losing their homes."

The pioneering SHPS scheme prioritises the prevention of homelessness among singles, who will have increased priority for help under the new Homelessness Reduction Act, and will also offer support to couples without dependent children.

The SHPS scheme is expected to help around 1,600 residents out of homelessness. The scheme will initially be based in Brent Civic Centre, but the Harlesden Hub, the New Brent Enterprise Centre, and CAB Brent, are also expected to refer people directly to the SHPS Scheme as it develops.

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