A change to the funding of Central London Works, the government’s Work and Health Programme, has enabled higher levels of support for the most vulnerable residents of Central London during the coronavirus pandemic. The additional Community Investment Fund has helped secure accommodation and improve employment prospects for residents on the programme.
Delivered by Ingeus, Central London Works is commissioned by Central London Forward and receives support from the European Social Fund. Central London Forward (CLF) has provided flexible funding that runs until March 2021 for unemployed people with health conditions who are actively seeking work and facing homelessness.
Ingeus and CLF have utilised this fund to provide good quality, rented accommodation to residents who have no other help available. The fund has currently helped to find new homes for more than 20 people.
Raymond Gray, Director of Ingeus’ Central London Works, said: “We are committed to housing around 100 people using the fund that CLF has made available. The fund runs into next spring and is being used to secure suitable accommodation and provide support with rent until the applicant receives their salary or universal credit payments.
“It is very difficult for a client to apply for a job vacancy if they do not have a permanent address.”
Case study on homelessness - Adam
Twenty-four-year-old Adam lost his job in the retail sector and left his flat as he was unable to pay the rent. As a stopgap measure he was able to sofa-surf by staying with friends but feared that he would soon be sleeping on the streets.
His Ingeus case worker Juliette Housen-Fraser commented: “We initially helped Adam to stay at an AirB&B and with our encouragement, Adam spent a weekend ringing around estate agents in Hackney to try and locate a suitable place. He was very resourceful and eventually found a vacant flat. He was able to provide a tenancy agreement which enabled me to apply for a payment from the emergency housing fund.
“Securing a place to live is truly a life changing event. I was so pleased when Adam told me that he had been successful in his application to work at a call centre. He moved into his home and the next day he started his new job. Quite a transformation!”
“I feel I have turned my life around,” said Adam. “I could not have done it without Juliette’s support. She was amazing. I now have a new job and a home. It is important to look at ways that you can better yourself and I’m hoping to start an accountancy course in 2021.”
Case study on homelessness - Joe
Joe is now working as a fulltime hospital cleaner but has dreams of setting up his own cleaning company in the future.
“I was homeless, jobless and depressed,” stated Joe. “I was referred to Ingeus in August. I had found a job, but had nowhere to sleep or funds to travel to my new place of work.
“My case worker Paul James contacted me every day. He provided me with the money to buy a bicycle and I was allocated a place in a hostel. I could not believe it. I felt so lucky because there was someone on my side trying to help me. It felt like a miracle after what I had been through.”
Joe was also desperately seeking accommodation as he wanted his six year old son to be able to stay with him.
Manager of the Wandsworth Ingeus Team, Paul James, said: “This emergency funding is transforming our work with clients who are seeking employment but face being made homeless. When Joe called me, his son came on the phone to say thank you for helping his Daddy. That was priceless to me.”
Joe added: “I received the keys to my new flat in November. Paul continues to encourage me and I have dreams of setting up my own company one day.”
Case study on homelessness - Sue
Sue’s life hit a rocky patch after her relationship with her boyfriend ended and she could not afford the rent on their two-bedroom flat.
“My mental health was suffering,” explained Sue. “I knew I had to leave my home but I had nowhere to go and no job.”
She was referred to Central London Works in September and was encouraged to start looking for employment. An application was made to the emergency fund to cover her first month’s rent payment on new accommodation.
Her case worker Mary Victoria Iwoha commented: “In less than two months Sue went from being unemployed and at risk of homelessness to being in permanent accommodation and now actively seeking work.”