Safer London project has won the London Homelessness Award 2018 by showing that teamwork is key, writes Nora Selina Helal…
Listed as one of the three winners of the London Homelessness Awards, the Safer London Pan-London Housing Reciprocal, supports people experiencing domestic abuse and other types of violence to move out of the borough where they are at risk, away from the abuse they are experiencing, and not lose their social tenancy.
Project Coordinator, Lauren Page-Hammick, said: “Research shows that between 60-80% of women in prison have experienced domestic abuse. We also know that women often serve short prison sentences for minor offences. With almost one third of women losing their homes while in prison, we want to develop the scheme to address these issues and support women facing multiple disadvantage.”
Melanie (not her real name) recently used the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal to move away from her abusive partner and keep her social housing tenancy. Once she knew she no longer had to return to the borough she was at risk in, she felt able to support a police investigation and give evidence in court against the perpetrator.
Melanie said: “I finally feel I can put this horrific ordeal behind me and make a bright, fresh new start with my life. I believe this scheme will be very helpful for others who need to move from where they are, whatever their situation may be.”
Another client said: “I’m safe, I’m stronger, I’m where I want to be.”
Miss Page-Hammick added: “We have managed to secure the agreement of 32 local authorities and 43 housing associations to support tenants experiencing domestic abuse, other forms of violence against women and girls, gang-related violence, hate crime or other abuse. Many saw this level of joint working as unthinkable!
“This allows resettlement to an area where tenants are safe and means they can keep a social tenancy. We are proud to have set up a new way to prevent homelessness that does not exist anywhere else.”
The top prize of £30,000 will be revealed at City Hall on October 18th.
If the team win, they have said that they intend on using the prize money to maximise the potential impact of the scheme and develop new pathways to support other high risk and vulnerable groups.