Reflecting on homelessness prevention at Brent Reach
Sade, Martina and Kef at Brent Reach discuss their holistic approach to preventing homelessness
Sade, Martina and Kef from the Brent Reach team reflect on its fifteen years of service in the Brent area supporting people to prevent homelessness.
What Brent Reach offer the community
“We support people in the community to sustain their tenancy, and empower them to be independent. We signpost to different services depending on their needs, as well as advocating for people regarding issues such as their housing.”
Helping prevent homelessness
“We help people integrate into their communities, so that they have the network and skills to navigate different challenges, and ultimately we support people to prevent them becoming homeless. We link people up with training, volunteering, or employment, depending on what they want to do, and sometimes help with the paperwork to maximise their benefits, all arming people towards living more independently. Putting things in place for people and intervening as quickly as possible is essential to stop homelessness occurring for an individual.”
How homelessness prevention work has changed in recent years
“Demand for our support has increased since the pandemic; particularly in 2020 and 2021, so many organisations and services closed, and as people became more isolated, issues often intensified.
“I’m really proud of the team’s efforts during the lockdowns. We did amazing work at that time, considering we have such a client-facing position, and we learned so much about the reality of isolation. We were distributing supplies to people when they couldn’t leave their homes, taking it in turns to buy food parcels, and making contact with food banks to make sure people with particular vulnerabilities weren’t going hungry. We carried out essential visits to those most in need, and helped people top up their gas and electricity. Our work was recognised by the Mayor of Brent, and it was such a rewarding experience to see how we could come together and help people directly.
A unique project in the heart of Brent
“There’s been no one like us! We’re a really unique project. Of course, every stage of homelessness support needs funding, but if you’re only funding the point at which a person loses their home, then the numbers of people becoming homeless are only going to increase. Once someone has become homeless, the problems multiply; an individual’s mental health can deteriorate, for example. If there were more services like ours, whereby we can help people where they are and with the exact support they need, we would see a real reduction in homelessness.”