The Big Lottery Fund is set to make a considerable difference to the lives of long-term rough sleepers in Southend.
It can be incredibly difficult for people who've been on the streets for a long time to adjust to life once they move back into accommodation. The pressures of re-integrating back into the community can give rise to a variety of mental health issues, and may also intensify pre-existing conditions.
This is why HARP applied to the Big Lottery Fund's 'Reaching Communities' programme: and we're delighted to announce we've been successful!
The award has been made specifically for HARP's 'Transitions' project, enabling long-term rough sleepers to improve their mental health, physical wellbeing and move off the streets into supported housing; providing them with security, stability and support.
Focus will be on helping them to make measurable improvements in their mental health, effectively manage physical health problems and sustain a tenancy for two years in supported or independent accommodation.
The Transitions project has been developed in response to research showing the life expectancy of a long-term rough sleeper can be up to thirty years shorter than the national average at only 47 years for men and a shocking 43 years for women.
By enabling long-term rough sleepers to dramatically improve their mental and physical wellbeing, they stand a far smaller chance of becoming just another number among those sad statistics.
However, although it's fantastic for us to share news of this funding success, we still need to work together with the local community to ensure we continue to serve some of the most vulnerable people in our town.
Your involvement (whether you're giving money or volunteering time, raising funds, donating food or goods for sale in our charity shops) remains crucial to ensuring we're able to develop sustainable, long-term plans that will remove as many people as possible from the misery of homelessness.
For more information on supporting HARP, please click here.