Project launched after borough’s steep rise in homelessness

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Housing charity Shelter has launched a new project to help homeless families in Hackney.

With the number of families declared homeless in the London borough soaring by 19% last year, the Hackney Family Service offers intensive support to the families most at risk of losing their home.

With the support of the Berkeley Foundation, Shelter's support workers can help families with a range of problems, including support to get back into work, access to the right health care and mental health support, and help managing rent arrears and family finances.

Shelter predicts that it will help more than a hundred families in the borough every year.

Meanwhile, a further 400 families in Hackney are on track to benefit from weekly housing advice surgeries run by the charity, which will be hosted at different locations across the borough.

The project is part of Shelter’s country-wide work to tackle bad housing and homelessness. The charity helps three million people a year with housing problems through its face to face services, housing helpline and online advice.

Connie Cullen, service manager at the Hackney Family Service, said: “It can take just one thing, like a serious illness, to tip anyone of us into a downward spiral that puts our home at risk. And without a stable home it can be almost impossible to get back on your feet.

"Homelessness is often a symptom of much deeper problems, so by helping to tackle the underlying reasons that put a family’s home at risk we want to stop them from going through the trauma of homelessness.

“This project is designed to make a lasting difference to the lives of hundreds of families in Hackney. Families who need help will be able to get the support they need to keep their home, so that they can build a better future for themselves and their children.”

Charmaine Young CBE, chief executive of the Berkeley Foundation, said: “We’re delighted at the Berkeley Foundation to be working with Shelter. The Hackney Family Service is a forward-thinking service which promises to deliver a really meaningful impact to people in Hackney who are at risk of homelessness and have complex family needs. We hope this project will make a real difference to their lives.”