What is Bluebird?
Bluebird is a 50 bed development in Southchurch Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, comprising the refurbishment of two existing properties, alongside six brand new houses built to environmentally friendly PassivHaus standards.
Using innovative building techniques and providing a secure and serene base for recovery, Bluebird will provide Supported Housing to a young client group and those nearing the end of their journey with HARP, giving residents blue skies and bright futures before moving on to independent living.
Alongside the 50 room accommodation, the Bluebird site will host a new Learning For Life educational centre, allowing residents to take up training opportunities to further aid the journey towards independence.
Jack first became homeless when he was just 19 years old. Things got worse when his dad died suddenly and he turned to drink and drugs as a coping mechanism.
"I'd never really done anything to sort my life out before but the people at HARP were really nice. They could tell I was scared and tried to make me feel comfortable. The staff spoke to me like I’m human and supported me with no judgement – they didn’t look down their noses at me.”
Read Jack's story in full here.
Who is Bluebird for?
Bluebird will house a mixture of younger clients aged 18-25, and those at the end of their HARP pathway journey. We anticipate that around a third of residents will be in active employment, with others in training or actively job hunting.
For young people experiencing homelessness, early intervention is key. If support can be given early in life, repeat cases of homelessness can be prevented, and people are more likely to avoid getting stuck in the revolving door of homelessness.
Why is Bluebird needed?
Nationally, Centrepoint estimate that youth homelessness increased by 40% between 2016/17 and 2019/20.
At HARP, in the same time period, between a fifth and a quarter of all of our clients in any given year were aged between 16 and 25.
In total, we work with around 1,000 people very year.
So far in 2021/22 a total of 176 young people have sought help, support or accommodation from HARP as at the end of December 2021.
The ongoing, and soon to worsen, Cost of Living Crisis is expected to push more local people into homelessness, so the affordable Supported Accommodation provided by Bluebird is needed more than ever.
HARP Floating Support Team Manager
Matthew and his Floating Support Team will manage Bluebird on a day to day basis, including providing tailored support for residents.
“We aim to help young people by supporting them with any problems they might be experiencing, whilst also giving them the opportunity to learn about budgeting, encouraging them to learn new skills and helping them to take steps crucial towards starting successful careers so that they can move away from homelessness for good.”
How will Bluebird be managed?
Bluebird will be managed by a team of dedicated HARP staff, fully trained in supporting people to overcome homelessness.
Our team will work with residents to build an action plan based on support, accommodation and meaningful activity, in order to provide a platform for moving away from homelessness and on to independence.
See for yourself
Support the appeal today
It's easy to support the Bluebird Appeal and do your bit to provide blue skies and bright futures for local people experiencing homelessness.