We are calling for local people who are worried about losing their home to come forward and ask for help before ending up on the streets.
We want as many people as possible to know about our homelessness prevention services ahead of World Homeless Day on Saturday 10th October.
“We have already seen an increase in calls from people who are at risk of being evicted,” said Elliott Barker, Team Manager at our Bradbury Day Centre. “However, I think a lot of people don’t even realise that they can come to HARP for help before they lose their home and think they need to be sleeping on the street before seeking help.”
The financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic alongside the lifting of the government’s ban on evictions means that a sharp surge in homelessness is expected before Christmas.
With traditional homeless shelters still unable to open due to lockdown restrictions, this leaves many in danger of sleeping on the streets during the coldest months of the year.
Elliott continued: “Preventing homelessness wherever we can is an essential part of our work because it helps people to avoid getting caught up in a cycle of homelessness that may include sofa-surfing, moving between the homes of different friends and family, or even sleeping in their car. Some people in these situations don’t even realise they are homeless.”
Our homelessness prevention services include providing advice and guidance via the telephone and an online chat support service, with face-to-face support available by appointment.
We also has a Landlord Liaison and Eviction Prevention officer who is available to work directly with landlords so they do not need to resort to eviction.
Joinah has been staying with HARP since becoming homeless just before Christmas 2019 and encourages the public not to hesitate to come to HARP for help if support is needed.
She said: “HARP does more than just find you somewhere to stay; they help you face up to and conquer what led you to the situation. They listen, they encourage, they are compassionate, and they don’t judge you. Everyone needs and deserves compassion. Being homeless is not a choice, you don’t see it coming. It could happen to anyone.”
If you are at risk of becoming homeless or worried about losing your home, contact us on 01702 430696 or use our online chat support service. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am – 5pm.
To support HARP’s work helping local people to avoid or overcome homelessness you can text BED to 70460 to donate £10 (texts cost £10 plus your standard network rate) or make an online donation here.
Or why not take part in the at home fundraising event The Really Big South Essex Sleep Out, which this year is a sleep IN?
More about HARP
HARP supports people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home in Southend. We provide housing and support to people staying in our 222 rooms on their journey to independent living, and give advice and guidance to people at risk of losing their home. Homeless people in need can also visit our Bradbury Day Centre to get food, clothing and a shower (on an appointment only basis at present), as well as get the practical support they need to help them escape the streets.