HARP Make Strides in Reducing Numbers Turned Away

HARP Make Strides in Reducing Numbers Turned Away

HARP, Southend’s homeless charity, is delighted to report a 76% reduction in the numbers of people they have been unable to provide emergency accommodation to when needed, due to insufficient resources, over each of the three years since March 2018.

The Charity made a strategic decision to increase its capacity – including accommodation, and numbers of staff, as well as the range of skills and expertise of their employees – that they are able to offer to local people experiencing homelessness, aiming to reduce the number of people ‘turned away’.

HARP has increased its number of available bed spaces from 174 in 2018 to 220 currently, with construction already underway that will add another 50+ in 2022, as well as adding new services such as Housing First and work with drug and alcohol addictions, in order to help as many local people overcome homelessness as possible.

In the year ending March 2018, HARP had been unable to provide accommodation to 319 of the people who sought help from them with homelessness issues, although were often able to help them in other ways.

By the year ending March 2021, the number of people turned away for housing due to lack of available resources had been brought right down to just 77 people, representing a reduction of 76%.

Over that same period of time, numbers of rough sleepers in Southend also reduced from 72 in November 2017 to only eight in December 2020, an improvement of almost 90%. This compares with a national average reduction in levels of rough sleeping of 43%.

Jackie Bliss, HARP’s Chief Executive, said: “We are so pleased to see such amazing progress with our aim to eliminate to zero the number of people who come to us for help but who we are unable to house at HARP. Whilst we are delighted with the progress, we know that the 77 people who desperately needed accommodation last year but had to be returned to the street is still 77 too many. We will continue to redouble our efforts to bring this number right down, with our ultimate aim being to be able to offer emergency accommodation to all those who wish to work with us to overcome their homelessness.”

You can find out more about the charity’s work on HARP’s website at www.harpsouthend.org.uk

Jamie Langstone