Last year the number of families declared homeless in Hackney rose by 19 per cent from 520 in 2012 to 618 in 2013. To tackle this growing problem, the Hackney Family Service will offer intensive support to the families most at risk of homelessness, and housing advice to hundreds more.
With the support of the Berkeley Foundation, Shelter support workers will help the whole family with a range of problems to help them keep their home. This could include support to get back into work, access to the right health care and mental health support, and help managing rent arrears and family finances. More than a hundred families in the borough will be helped by the team every year.
Meanwhile, a further 400 families in Hackney are on track to benefit from weekly housing advice surgeries run by Shelter, which will be hosted at different locations across the borough.
Any family living in Hackney needing housing advice can come along to a specialist advice surgery where they will be able to get advice on anything from dealing with rent arrears and disrepair problems, to if they're facing the threat of losing their home.
The charity is asking local families who need housing advice or more intensive support to call the Hackney Family Service office on 0344 515 1447 for more information on their next and nearest advice surgery.
The project is part of Shelter's work across the country to tackle bad housing and homelessness. The charity helps three million people a year with a housing problem through its face to face services, housing helpline and online advice.
Connie Cullen, service manager at the Hackney Family Service, said: "It can take just one thing, like a serious illness, to tip anyone of us into a downward spiral that puts our home at risk. And without a stable home it can be almost impossible to get back on your feet. Homelessness is often a symptom of much deeper problems, so by helping to tackle the underlying reasons that put a family's home at risk we want to stop them from going through the trauma of homelessness.
"This project is designed to make a lasting difference to the lives of hundreds of families in Hackney. Families who need help will be able to get the support they need to keep their home, so that they can build a better future for themselves and their children."
Charmaine Young CBE, chief executive of the Berkeley Foundation, said: "We're delighted at the Berkeley Foundation to be working with Shelter. The Hackney Family Service is a forward-thinking service which promises to deliver a really meaningful impact to people in Hackney who are at risk of homelessness and have complex family needs. We hope this project will make a real difference to their lives."
Notes to editors
1. The latest government homelessness stats show that in 2013 there were 618 families with children accepted as homeless in Hackney, compared with 520 in 2012 - representing a 19% increase. Source: Department for Communities and Local Government, Live homelessness tables.