Mayor announces £900,000 boost for London’s homeless

5 March 2010

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has today (March 5), announced a £900,000 funding boost to help hundreds of the capital’s homeless gain essential skills and get back to work.

The Homeless to Work programme, funded by the Mayor through the London Development Agency (LDA), will see outreach teams working directly with homeless in London offering them opportunities to gain skills and training.

The scheme will also target individuals with a history of rough sleeping to rebuild their lives off the streets. Working with the Mayor’s London Delivery Board, set up to end rough sleeping in the capital by 2012, it is hoped that the programme will help up to 600 homeless people get back to work and find a home.  

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:

“A skilled work force is the backbone of London’s economic success and the key to our competitive edge. In these tough economic times it is absolutely essential that we maintain this valuable commodity and ensure that everyone, especially those who are all too often considered ‘unemployable’, can gain the skills they need to get a job. 

“Losing your home does not mean losing your talent or ambition and this new project will play a hugely important part in helping hundreds of London’s homeless get back on track and get back to work. ”

The LDA Homeless to Work Programme complements the work of the Department of Works and Pension to get drug addicts, ex-offenders and homeless back to work. The £900,000 of funding has been specifically ring-fenced to provide a bespoke service for the capital’s homeless and will be the only part of the programme to use outreach workers to directly target those in need.

Brendan Loughran, Director of Learning and Skills at the London Development Agency said:

“This joint approach is allowing us to bring together the expertise and knowledge of both the LDA and DWP to target a part of society that is often neglected by mainstream systems. Homeless Londoners represent a particularly hard to reach group of workless, many have drug or alcohol related problems or mental health issues. The one to one support they’ll get from Homeless to Work will provide them with important tools to help them overcome many of the barriers to getting off the streets and into safe, secure accommodation and sustainable jobs.” 

Homeless to Work is the first LDA project to be delivered jointly with a central department like DWP through the LDA’s new co-commissioning model. This new approach will see the Agency partner up with other organisations, like DWP, to deliver its skills and employment programmes. This approach enables the LDA to attract bigger investment, achieve better outcomes, and to target funding where it’s needed to give more Londoners the support they need to succeed.

Helen Goodman, DWP Benefits Minister said:

“The Government is committed to supporting people into work and working towards ending poverty. London Jobcentre Plus already have specialist advisers working in hostels, day centres and rolling shelters across the capital. Since July 2006 this team, working in partnership with others, has helped thousands of customers stabilise benefits, helped over 500 homeless people into work and over 800 rough sleepers into a variety of accommodations - making a real difference to individual's lives. 

DWP is more than doubling the specialist employment provision available to this group and will continue to help homeless people in London access services and individual support to get help, get them off the streets, overcome barriers to work and enhance their skills to find jobs.”

Ends

Notes to editors

- The programme will be rolled out across London from October 2010, following a successful tender round and the appointment of delivery partners. 

- The Mayor’s commitment to end rough sleeping is outlined in his London Housing Strategy. It takes forward the vision of the national strategy to bring rough sleeping to an end by 2012.

- The London Delivery Board was set up by the Mayor in February 2009 to end rough sleeping in London by 2012. Its action plan can be found at http://www.london.gov.uk/priorities/housing/ending-rough-sleeping

- Details and outcomes of the Homeless to Work programme will be finalised in the coming months once delivery partners have been appointed. An invitation to tender has just been launched on the Department for Work and Pensions website. Details of the progress2work-LinkUP and Welfare Reform Drug Recovery Pilot are available to view at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what-we-buy/welfare-to-work-services/notices-to-providers

- This co-commissioned project will provide one-to-one support, help to build commitment and motivation and access to skills provision.  Where appropriate, the project will identify the need for and signpost to additional specialist provision to help overcome additional barriers to employment.  This might include: benefit and welfare advice, health, substance misuse, debt, and advice on criminal record disclosure.  LDA funding will primarily be used to provide additional outreach and engagement and post-employment support for up to 12 months.

- Working in Partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions, this funding will, through a programme called progress2work-LinkUP directly support the homeless, offering them opportunities to gain the necessary skills to get back to work.