A NEW initiative has been set up in Leicester to help prevent homelessness.
Leicester City Council is working with Beam, an online fundraising platform and social enterprise, to help homeless people and council tenants at risk of homelessness to find work and stable accommodation.
Through Beam’s platform, residents can fundraise for the cost of items that can be a financial obstacle to starting work or moving into a new home, such as job training, childcare, a laptop, travel costs or rental deposits. Their webpage includes their personal story and an itemised budget breakdown of how much they need to raise. Members of the public can then donate as little as £1 and leave a message of support.
The pilot scheme will initially benefit 50 council tenants, rough sleepers and those in temporary accommodation. Residents are referred to the scheme by the city council’s housing workers, and each person is assigned a caseworker from Beam, who supports them on their journey into work and housing.
Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, assistant city mayor for housing, said: “No-one should have to experience homelessness. We’re determined to help anyone who finds themselves in this position gain access to a decent home and a brighter future.
“We were chosen by Beam for this partnership – their first major city launch outside London – because of our innovative approaches to tackling homelessness. This speaks volumes about how well-regarded our work in this area is.”
She added: “Working with organisations like Beam means we can help people to access individual, tailored support to start a job-seeking journey. By working together, we boost the support that we can provide.”
Beam first launched in London in 2017, and has since gone on to support more than 750 homeless people across the UK into stable jobs and homes. As well as providing funding support, Beam has also built tools to aid job-seekers with CV writing, job interview preparation and online job applications. Beam then matches residents with employers it has partnerships with. Some of the most popular career paths for Beam’s beneficiaries include security, support work, care, warehouse and logistics work, construction and hospitality.
Seb Barker, co-founder and COO of Beam said: “Beam is using technology to empower the most disadvantaged people in our society, by giving them an online support network and all the tools they need to accelerate their journey into stable work or housing. We look forward to working with local employers in Leicester who want to play their part in improving social mobility, and hiring overlooked talent to fill skills shortages.”
Twenty-seven-year-old single mother Jessica was at risk of homelessness in Leicester and is being supported by both the city council and Beam. The mum of three fell into difficulties after losing her job and the subsequent breakdown of her relationship.
With Beam’s support, Jessica successfully fundraised £2,134 from 55 members of the public to become a carer. The funds went towards childcare and travel costs, work attire, a smartphone, safeguarding training and a DBS check. She recently started work as a carer at Bupa.
Jessica said: “I cannot thank the Beam community enough! It is a very new feeling to me as I’ve never experienced people genuinely wanting to help me with my goals. I want to be a working mother, able to provide more for my children and give them a better life and the fact that people are supporting me in this is amazing.”
She added: “I’m also very grateful to Leicester City Council and particularly Mr Karim, for referring me to Beam and for all their help and ongoing support.”
Existing council tenants who might be interested in a referral to Beam can contact their income management officer or rent management advisor. More information on the city council’s services for people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness can be found at www.leicester.gov.uk/homelessness