Sevenoaks District Council was the only single district council to receive nearly £100,000 from the Prime Minister’s new trailblazer funding to help prevent homelessness.
The new £40million programme aims to provide an innovative approach to tackling homelessness with prevention at its heart – focussing on the underlying issues that can lead to someone losing their home.
SDC will use the money to employ another HERO officer and upskill all our HERO officers into Super HEROs.
As a council, Sevenoaks has always been proactive in dealing with the causes of homelessness, and trying to prevent it from occurring in the first place. The causes are many and varied ranging from extreme debt, not being able to manage money, mental health conditions to domestic violence and abuse.
Our Housing, Energy, Re-training Options (HERO) officers see people at the point when debt is starting to spiral out of control or when they are still sofa surfing at the homes of friends and family, or at the refuges – to try to get them on their feet at that point.
Our new Super HEROs will have some medical training to better understand the links between health and homelessness. Mental health and debt are linked, obesity and poor budgeting skills can also be linked and the list goes on. From 2017, our HERO officers will be able to continue the successful job they are currently doing as well as understanding how best to signpost people with underlying health issues to the right places.