News & stories News & features Breaking the 'catch 22' of homelessness Single Homeless Project is partnering with landlords and employers across the capital in a bid to support thousands of homeless and vulnerable people into homes and jobs. SHP's Achieving Potential programme works in partnership with private rented sector (PRS) landlords across London to provide housing for homeless prospective tenants. At the same time, the programme works with employers to help homeless people, and those at risk of homelessness, into work. Through a combination of group workshops and 1-1 support from trained advisors, the charity will support people to enter and sustain employment while simultaneously equipping them with the skills and knowledge to manage their own home. Support for 1,800 homeless Londoners to find a home and a job SHP aims to support more than 1,800 homeless Londoners to find a home and a job over the next three years – and is calling on members of the public and London businesses to get behind the scheme. The charity is appealing for cash donations to provide everything from interview clothes and travel expenses to bonds and deposits, while employers are invited to join a growing pool of corporate partners offering brokered work placements and employment opportunities. Single Homeless Project’s Chief Executive Liz Rutherfoord said: “London is in the grip of a homelessness crisis, with 1 in 52 Londoners now homeless. And while a hot meal or a bed for the night will be a welcome stopgap this Christmas, it won’t lift people out of homelessness. Struggling to get a foothold “Spiralling rents and a reluctance among landlords to let properties to homeless or socially excluded people mean it can be extremely difficult for our clients to get a foothold. Meanwhile our own research shows that 70 per cent of our clients want a job - but without additional specialist support, only four per cent will succeed. “It’s the classic ‘catch 22’ of homelessness - without a job, you can’t get a home, but without a stable address, the right skills or a recent employment history, no employer will look at you.To break this cycle, we urgently need to support more people to build their wellbeing, life skills and work-readiness so that they can leave the streets behind for good.” SHP works directly with large portfolio landlords and managing agents to place people into accommodation, and has already achieved some exciting results. Rates of tenancy sustainment – the proportion of people who remain in their homes for the life of a tenancy - are significantly outperforming the sector average for vulnerable adults, at 97 per cent compared with an average of 63 per cent. Former SHP clients are now working in wide variety of roles from baristas to bus drivers, and the charity has brokered positions at more than 80 London businesses, from venue hire companies to accountancy firms. 'SHP believed in me' Pat was homeless for several years and spent time as a Big Issue seller before coming to SHP. Today he can be found driving the number 26 bus from Waterloo to Hackney Wick, and was recently awarded the Hello London Award for Outstanding Customer Service at Transport for London's (TfL's) annual London Bus Awards. Pat said: “I’ve been homeless, I’ve been in prison, I’ve been an addict. I often thought,’ how did I get here?’“But SHP believed in me. If it wasn’t for them, I’d still be on benefits. Now I’m a tax-paying citizen. Work is so much better and more fulfilling - you put more in and you get more back. 'People ask why I’m so happy at work' “People ask why I’m so happy at work. It’s a conscious decision. Sometimes I say ‘Good morning’ and people look like they are going to fall off the bus in surprise! People seem to enjoy it, and I want to enhance their journey.” To reach more people, Single Homeless Project wants to expand its work further to incorporate a fully-fledged social lettings agency and employability hub. Liz Rutherfoord added: “We’ve shown that, given the opportunity, people can and do recover from homelessness, but we urgently need to scale up this work so that we can help more people like Pat to move on with their lives.” Watch Joe Mitchell, SHP's Head of Employment Initiatives on London Live talking about the launch. Donate now to support more people like Pat.