The Salvation Army welcomed Councillor Moia Thorogood to their New Direction Lifehouse last week to discuss the impact the government’s proposed changes to the local housing allowance could have on homelessness services.
Councillor Thorogood of Bocking South Ward met with Salvation Army staff who gave her a tour of the Lifehouse, a 14-room residential centre for single men and women experiencing homelessness.
Beverley Egan, The Salvation Army’s Public Affairs Advisor for Local Authorities, said: “Lifehouses such as New Direction provide vulnerable people with more than just a roof over their heads.
“We offer a safe place to live and provide opportunities that encourage individuals to develop positive relationships and experience a sense of community. As a church and charity with more than 150 years’ experience, we know that these opportunities are vital to helping people regain their independence and end the cycle of homelessness.
“Supported housing is one of the main pathways out of street homelessness, however, the government is currently consulting on a plan to reform the way that supported housing is funded. If the government’s current plan is introduced as it is, then it will become extremely difficult to maintain our present level of homelessness provision. As a result, services such as Braintree New Direction may be forced to close completely. This would cause significant disruption to the lives of our residents and their recoveries as they would be forced to look for alternative accommodation, which is already in short supply.
“We are committed to working with government to find a workable and long-lasting solution and are pleased Councillor Thorogood has taken the time to listen to our concerns today and hear how centres like this are transforming lives in communities around the country.”
The Salvation Army has been a leading provider of social services for more than 130 years. New Direction is part of a network of homelessness services run by the Church and charity throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland supporting more than 8,000 people.