The London Development Agency is to provide an additional £900,000 of funding to tackle homelessness in the capital. The funding will be used to pay for outreach teams who, from October this year, will work with homeless people in the capital to offer opportunities to gain skills and training.
City Hall says the money will also be used to target individuals with a history of rough sleeping, helping them to “rebuild” their lives.
Confirming the funding, Mayor Johnson said: “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.”
Describing a skilled work force as “the backbone of London’s economic success”, the Mayor said it was “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.”
The funding will be in addition to Department of Work and Pensions efforts to help ex-offenders, homeless and drug-users back into work. The Homeless to Work programme will be the first LDA project to be delivered jointly with a central Government department through the LDA’s new co-commissioning model which will see it partner with external organisations to deliver skills and employment programmes.
Benefits Minister Helen Goodman said the DWP was “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.”
City Hall officials say more details of the Homeless to Work programme will be finalised “in the coming months”, subject to the appointment of delivery agencies.