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Tackling homelessness in Warrington
6:00am Wednesday 9th October 2013 in News
THE Brighter Futures rough sleepers team are hitting the streets of Warrington in a bid to tackle homelessness in the area.
The outreach programme aims to help get people off the streets by offering ongoing support with alcohol and drug issues, gambling addiction, mental health problems, violence or neglect.
The team have already helped re-settle 50 individuals since October 2012.
Natalie Simpson, the manager at the Brighter Futures centre in Warrington, said: “Our goal is to help everyone who’s sleeping rough and tackle the issues that caused their homelessness.
“It’s a common misconception that if you’re sleeping rough you can’t claim benefits. This isn’t so.
“Part of our job is helping people to claim benefits they’re entitled to. If they don’t have an address they can use ours as a care of address.”
Brighter Futures, who were commissioned by Warrington Borough Council to work with rough sleepers, will provide the daily support needed to get people back on the right tracks.
Debra Jones, whose name has been changed for personal reasons, saw her life spiral out of control after she was diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder when she was 18.
The 42-year-old said: “I’ve been homeless on and off for years. I left home at a young age.
“I was an alcoholic for 20 years but also became addicted to heroin after I lost my second child to cot death. I needed the heroin to take the pain away but it just caused far more problems.”
Debra would spend £300 a day on heroin, which she paid for by shoplifting.
The mother of one said: “The real rock bottom moment came when I completely lost it one night and ended up stabbing a man.”
“I went to jail for 15 months but it helped me dry out and I’m clean now. When I came out of jail a few months ago I had nowhere to go, so I came to Brighter Futures in Warrington.”
The team have provided Debra with the support she desperately needed to turn her life around.
“It’s been a complete godsend. I have my own worker now who deals with people like me who have complex needs and it has helped me stay clean and find somewhere to live.
“I know there’s someone there for me now so I don’t feel as lonely as I did.”
Visit brighter-futures.org.uk for more information.
A NEW Homeless Commission has been launched in Warrington by the council to ensure the right services are available to those who need them.
The commission plans to hold a number of meetings, studying the best practise in both the UK and abroad as well as organising round-table debates.
Nick Atkin, independent chair of the Warrington Homelessness Commission, said: “The best solution to homelessness is to prevent it from happening in the first place.
“But we also need to establish the best ways of targeting support where it’s needed, to enable people to obtain and remain in a settled home.”
The Homeless Commission will take four months to conduct its research with a report to be published in February 2014.D
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