New jobcentre support for homeless

The Department for Work and Pensions has developed new training on homelessness to improve support for vulnerable benefit claimants.

Jobcentre Customer Service Managers have been issued new guidance from expert organisations, including Crisis, Homeless Link and Shelter, to ensure that people experiencing homelessness, and those at risk of becoming homeless, get access to all relevant services offered by the government.

The managers will also act as a point of contact for partner homelessness organisations in their local area, focusing on building relationships with them and ensuring people are signposted appropriately to additional, expert support.

Training will be fully completed across Great Britain by the end of August.

Will Quince, Minister for Family Support, Housing and Child Maintenance, said: “People experiencing homelessness are some of the most vulnerable in society and we are determined to help them access the best possible support and improve their lives. Our jobcentre work coaches do an excellent job providing a tailored service for homeless people, including finding secure housing and helping them claim Universal Credit. Our newly trained Customer Service Managers will be instrumental in sharing best practice and building crucial links to local organisations and to ensure a joined-up package of support for our claimants.”

John Sparkes, chief executive at Crisis, said: “Homelessness is something we know can be ended across the country with the right policies and solutions in place. The Jobcentre Plus network has a pivotal role to play in this; especially in identifying and responding to people’s housing needs quickly, ideally before they become homeless in the first place.

“The roll out of training to all staff represents a positive first step in ensuring people facing homelessness receive the right support at a time when they need it most. By helping to shape this training we hope it will ensure that front line jobcentre staff are better equipped work with people experiencing homelessness. This also provides a good foundation for potentially growing housing and homelessness expertise amongst dedicated staff in local jobcentres where there is greatest homelessness demand.”

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