Working hard to prevent homelessness

Coun Christine Lawton ANL-140618-120437001
Coun Christine Lawton ANL-140618-120437001
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A weekly column written by members of South Holland District Council. This week with Councillor Christine Lawton, portfolio holder for housing

An Englishman’s home is his castle may sound a little old fashioned to some, but for many the phrase still captures what home really means to us all, and that is much more than just bricks and mortar.

For many young people taking responsibility for their first home, and paying the rent or mortgage, represents a coming of age and fully-fledged entry into an adult world where independence is an ambition to be gradually and carefully realised.

Sadly some less fortunate young people face different challenges where abrupt parental eviction can be an ever-present worry.

In such cases our housing advice team will mediate and support parents and youngsters to talk honestly and openly to help keep the family together.

If that produces no result then the team will help young people find suitable accommodation – preventing homelessness is always better (and less costly) than cure.

We are also working hard to reduce homelessness with the Lincolnshire youth homelessness project. We have commissioned the Zest theatre company production ‘Until it’s Gone’ for schools across South Holland.

The show ‘homes’ in (if you’ll forgive the pun) on what leads youngsters to leave home, even if they have nowhere to go – family breakdown, teenage pregnancy, drugs, arguments etc.

‘Until it’s Gone’ is proving a great way to get serious messages across to young people.

The vast majority of youngsters who find their place to call home go on to live happy and fulfilling lives and contribute much to their local communities.

Sadly a few, for a range of reasons, struggle to maintain rent or mortgage payments, which is where we, with partners, offer assistance.

The Citizens Advice Bureau provides housing related debt advice, Wash (Women’s Aid in South Holland) help those experiencing domestic violence find safe refuge, and rough sleeper services help street sleepers get a roof over their heads.

South Holland provides almost 4,000 homes for local residents and provides integrated, advice, guidance and support to help people maintain successful tenancies, which is in the interests of us all.

Whether privately or public rented, or buying with a mortgage, all our houses are homes, homes which make up the building blocks of neighbourhoods and communities – there truly is no place like home.