New pilot scheme aims to safely keep people off the streets in Lancaster

A new pilot scheme will work closely with homeless individuals across Lancaster housed in temporary accommodation during the pandemic.

By Gayle Rouncivell
Monday, 19th October 2020, 12:30 pm
Some of the parties involved in the scheme.
Some of the parties involved in the scheme.

The service will provide people with the support and life skills necessary to secure and maintain tenancies and continue living independently.

The six-month pilot, commissioned by Lancaster City Council and delivered by homelessness support service Gateway, will be delivered by a team that includes several staff and volunteers with ‘lived experience’ of homelessness.

This experience will help remove barriers to support, allowing staff to build relationships and tailor the service to ensure support remains person-centred.

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Some of the parties involved in the scheme.

Gateway’s floating support service will primarily assist rough sleepers recently sheltered in temporary accommodation during the pandemic. Following the Government’s plea in late March to ‘get everyone in’, it is estimated around 37 individuals were temporarily housed across Lancaster.

Now, the focus has shifted to seizing the opportunity presented by these efforts and ensure long-term support and accommodation is provided for those sheltered.

Additionally, the service will support people recently made homeless or at risk of homelessness referred by Lancaster City Council’s Street Outreach team.

Upon referral, Gateway will work with them to secure or maintain appropriate and stable accommodation. The team will work alongside the street outreach team to ensure there are no gaps in support once a client moves into their tenancy.

Gateway, part of The Calico Group, will form partnerships with local health services, addiction services, police, probation teams, employment and training providers, community groups and any other relevant support services to ensure a holistic package of support is available.

In doing so, the team hope to encourage positive changes and enable individuals to live independently and maintain their accommodation.

A floating support service is currently delivered by Gateway in Bury with a focus on early intervention. The service recently celebrated its first anniversary and has already supported over 350 customers across Bury with a wide range of tenancy-related issues.

Maggie Kelly, pilot lead, said: "We are pleased to be expanding our service and supporting communities in Lancaster at this difficult time.

"The pandemic has presented a real opportunity to end homelessness for good. With this service, we hope to seize that opportunity and provide individuals with all the tools and opportunities necessary to maintain tenancies and keep off the street for good."