Council’s Complex Needs Hostel recognised nationally

Published Wednesday, 25th April 2018

Homeless person in park

An initiative to help get long-term homeless people with complex needs off Southend's streets has received national recognition.

The joint initiative between Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, South Essex Homes and Peabody South East was a finalist in the Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards Housing Initiative category for their Complex Needs Hostel, which was set up in June 2017.

The hostel, which is able to house up to 10 people, was set up to accommodate rough sleepers with complex needs. This can include people with combined mental health and substance abuse issues who are unable to access any other forms of housing, using the ‘Housing First’ principle.  It involved the extensive refurbishment of an existing hostel and was tailored to specific requirements, including the building of a new communal kitchen, as well as a DDA compliant kitchen in the new disabled unit, a wet room, an adapted bedroom, a new hallway and an external ramp.

The delivery of the innovative project was a partnership between the Council’s Housing Department, Drug and Alcohol Commissioning Team, South Essex Homes, Peabody South East, Trinity Independent Living and Homes England.

Phil Warren, Community Housing Manager at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, was heavily involved with the project and he said: “To be recognised nationally for the work we are doing to offer real on the ground support to local rough sleepers in the town is very pleasing.

“As a result of the stability provided by the hostel, the residents, some of whom are in stable accommodation for the first time in years, are now in a position to start addressing their issues and begin on the pathway towards independent living.

“We are hopeful that this idea that started in Southend-on-Sea, could go on to help rough sleepers that may struggle securing regular accommodation due to having complex needs up and down the country.

“We also know that more still needs be done to address the challenges we face in the Borough and we will continue to work as hard as we can to stop people and families becoming homeless in the first place and supporting those who do find themselves on the streets.”