Council House

Despair on the frontline of Britain’s homelessness crisis

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Advisers at the homeless charity Shelter

are taking 500 calls a day from distraught people

Advisers at Shelter’s national helpline are doing everything they can to make the call-centre office feel like a cheerful environment. Tinsel with Christmas baubles has been hung from the ceiling, tiny silver Christmas trees and felt reindeer have been stuck on the tops of computer screens, cotton-wool icicles are hanging from the windows, and colleagues have brought in mince pies and chocolates to share.

You quickly understand why maintaining a good mood in the office is important if you spend time listening in to the calls that come in, at a rate of around 500 a day, from people facing imminent homelessness or already sleeping rough and seeking advice about how to find somewhere new to live.

The anxiety and emotion that pours into the headsets of crisis advice workers in this crowded fifth-floor Sheffield call centre offers a snapshot of the UK’s worsening homelessness crisis. Advisers at Shelter’s helpline are processing more calls than ever. Last year there was a 15% increase in the volume of calls – a reflection, staff think, of the degree to which people are struggling with rising house prices, soaring rents, cuts to housing benefit and the long shadow of the recession. A day spent at the centre provides a clear picture of the kinds of housing problems people face, as pressure on council house stock intensifies and radical changes to benefit entitlements are introduced.

An employment adviser calls on behalf of a 23-year-old client whom he is trying to help find work – a process that is complicated by the fact that the man, and his young girlfriend, have nowhere to live and are sleeping on the streets. The girlfriend is 18 weeks pregnant and, for reasons that are unclear, her father has thrown her out. Sharon Reeves, one of the helpline advisers, calmly explains the best course of action. “If she is pregnant, they would be in priority need. It sounds like the council has just fobbed them off. They should have provided them with a bed and breakfast to stay in. They should really go back to the council and challenge it,” she tells the man.

Read full article here

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URGENT LOBBY DERBY COUNCIL CABINET DECEMBER 11th 5PM at Council House

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Labour Council Cuts Therapy Service for

Vulnerable, Traumatised and Abused Derby Children

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A City Council Service that offers therapy and care to some of Derby’s  most vulnerable and traumatised children is under threat. 

Derby City Council is proposing to close No. 42 Leopold Street, and relocate only the staff to the Perth Street Office in Chaddesden.

They propose to delete the manager and administrator posts.

This would have the effect of preventing the Unit from being able to offer therapeutic service to abused and traumatised children in Derby

from a safe, therapeutic environment as it does at the moment.

Show your solidarity and  support on the lobby.  

 Be at the Council House between  5-6pm on Wednesday 11th December 2013

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