BHT’s advice centres will again remain open over the national lockdown period, providing specialist housing, immigration and benefits advice to vulnerable people within our local communities. This will mean that more people can stay in their homes – last year our advice centres in Brighton, Eastbourne and Hastings prevented 927 households from becoming homeless. While our offices are not currently open for drop-in appointments, we are providing our usual advice by telephone, email and other media.
The Community Justice Fund has given BHT financial support to enable our crucial advice services to continue at this time, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19. Contributors to the Community Justice Fund include the Access to Justice Foundation, the AB Charitable Trust, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Law Society, Allen and Overy, the Ministry of Justice and the National Lottery Community Fund.
Just in the last few weeks, BHT’s advice centres have prevented three families from becoming homeless, providing advice when they were threatened with eviction and then representing them at the County Court. They helped Sarah, a single mother who had been battling some personal issues who was threatened with eviction due to rent arrears, potentially undermining all the progress she had made in getting her life back on track. Our advisers successfully secured Discretionary Housing Payments from the Local Authority, allowing her to manage the debt, have ongoing support, and stay in her home.
Sue Hennell, BHT Sussex’s Senior Advice Manager, said:
Every week our advisers help families and individuals facing eviction to keep their homes. We are so grateful for the support of the Community Justice Fund and its contributors, which has enabled us to continue this work in difficult times and prevent homelessness for so many people.
Becoming homeless has a huge impact on all family members; for children a move to temporary accommodation can mean changing schools, amongst other challenges and can have a significant impact on their life chances. That is why at BHT we work so hard to end homelessness before it begins.
During these challenging times, many people are facing new financial pressures, and having access to quality, independent advice can make all the difference. If you are worried about losing your home, get advice as soon as possible – contact details for all of our advice services can be found here.