Funding secures South Birmingham Young Homeless Project's future

By Carl Jackson Friday 08 February 2013 Updated: 15/02 09:46

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Buy photos » David Joseph, housing benefits adviser, with Roberta Bassett project administrator, from the South Birmingham Youth Homeless Project. (s

THE FUTURE of a valuable service which supports hundreds of young homeless people has been secured for another year.

The Birmingham South NHS Primary Care Trust informed staff at the South Birmingham Young Homeless Project (SBYHP) last Friday (February 1) they were going to renew the contract.

In the last financial year - March 2011/April 2012 - the Project, which is based at The Depot, Belton Grove, Longbridge, has helped 388 people who came through the front door.

Out of those, 67 per cent had been made homeless because of a family breakdown and 35 people, some as young as 16, admitted to sleeping rough.

In the same period staff estimate they have given out around 100 basic packs to people for free, which contain living essentials, and more than 40 food packs.

Vanya Rousseau, debt advisor for the SBYHP, said the service would be needed more than ever with the Government’s welfare reforms.

“Its going to affect people in a big way.

“They aren’t aware enough of the changes and don’t have enough time to prepare.”

She added she had given financial support to more than 200 people in the last financial year alone.

Last Wednesday (January 30) the SBYHP hosted an open evening to help forge links with people and organisations in the area.

Andy Cartwright, Birmingham City Councillor for Longbridge, said: “It is scary enough to be a young person today but to be homeless as well?

“This gives young people a chance. It’s good to give them hope which is the most vital thing you can get.

“When you walk in you see a little apartment but the heart is in it. There is very bright young people here.”

Dr Diane Reeves, chief accountable officer, NHS Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’re really positive about South Birmingham Young Homeless Project, which provides accessible services to some of our most vulnerable clients.

“The teamwork with a ‘whole-person approach’, which we believe is essential for supporting and empowering people to improve their health and wellbeing.”

“BSC is focused on prevention, accessing good quality advice and support is a vital component in this, so the work the project is doing is very important.

“We look forward to developing stronger partnerships with the team in order to provide our population with holistic, high quality services.”

As well as funding from the Primary Care Trust, the SBYHP also welcomes donations. Anyone wishing to pledge money can contact the Project on 0121 457 8736.

The Depot operates a drop-in service for 16 to 24-year-olds from 10am to 4pm Monday to Thursday.

Those 25 an over can make appointment by ringing the number above.

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