This Saturday 10 October is World Homeless Day, and BHT is launching a new campaign, #EndItBeforeItBegins, to encourage people who are worried about their housing situation to seek advice to prevent homelessness before it begins. Last year the BHT advice centres in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings prevented 927 households from becoming homeless.
BHT’s advice centres offer free, independent, high quality advice on a range of housing, immigration and welfare benefits related issues, and have continued to operate throughout the pandemic. While our offices are not currently open for drop-in appointments, we are providing the usual advice by telephone, email and other media. BHT’s Eastbourne advice centre this year celebrated thirty years of providing advice and support to local residents, having first opened its doors in 1990.
The number of people seeking help with debt, benefits and employment has increased dramatically since the start of the pandemic. Many are facing new financial pressures and are unaware of the support they are entitled to. Our message is that by getting professional advice as soon as they can, people can protect their homes and avoid falling into homelessness.
Sue Hennell, BHT’s Senior Manager for Advice Services, said:
With the recent ending of the temporary government ban on evictions and the reopening of the Courts, there are concerns that rates of homelessness could surge. However, given the backlogs in the Courts, in most cases people who are facing eviction still have time to get legal advice and representation in order to protect their homes.
For those who have not managed to get advice ahead of a hearing, BHT runs Court Duty Schemes at the Brighton, Lewes and Hastings County Courts, which can give advice on the day of a possession hearing. This is emergency advice and free of charge to everyone”.
Andy Winter, BHT’s Chief Executive, said:
We hear a lot about ending homelessness and rough sleeping for good. We believe that, as far as homelessness is concerned, we should end it before it begins and we can do that through cost-effective legal advice and representation. Our advice centres in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings have a record, second to none locally, in preventing homelessness.
The prospect of losing your home can cause a worsening in someone’s mental health. October 10th, as well as being World Homelessness Day, is also World Mental Health Day. By getting advice early it is possible to end homelessness before it begins and help to sustain mental wellbeing.
If you are worried about losing your home, get advice as soon as possible – you can find the contact details for all of our advice centres here.