Worker launches homelessness bid in House of Lords

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A SOUTH Tyneside Council official has been invited to the House of Lords to launch a national bid to help the homeless.

Angela Lamonte, who is part of the council’s housing strategy team, will attend an event by national charity Homeless Link, at which it will launch its ‘Let’s Make the Difference’, manifesto for politicians on how to end homelessness.

Ms Lamonte said: “I feel really honoured to have been invited as a housing practitioner. I am genuinely passionate about homeless prevention and always strive to seek innovative solutions to addressing the root causes.

“It is by working together in partnership at the earliest possible opportunity that we avert a potential crisis and hopefully support an individual or family to stay in their home.”

The manifesto will set out the homeless sector’s top five priorities for the next government.

Coun Allan West, lead member for housing and transport at South Tyneside Council, said: “Angela is so committed to her role and thoroughly deserves to be invited to this prestigious event.

“She’s been instrumental in accessing external funding and developing responses to homelessness and is a great ambassador for the council and its work to tackle this issue.”

Ms Lamonte was joined by volunteers from Homeless Link, Changing Lives, Homefinder, Adult Services and Leaving Care Team, last month to carry out the annual rough sleepers count across the borough, which the Government requires local authorities to do.

The single night snapshot found just one person sleeping rough in known hotspots and the council was able to offer the person accommodation and support.

In the last year, South Tyneside Council developed a new homelessness strategy which made prevention of homelessness a key priority – acting to prevent people becoming homeless before the case reaches a critical point.

This proactive approach is reflected in new figures which highlighted the number of times the council intervened during 2013/14 was five times the national average.

Coun West said: “We address other needs around the issue, such as employment, health, substance misuse and debts.

“One rough sleeper is still one homeless person too many, but it is encouraging and suggests that the work we are doing with our partners to prevent rough sleeping is effective.”

n If you are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, call in to Homefinder, in Market Place, South Shields, or call 0300 1323 6633 or e-mail connect2@southtynesidehomes.org.uk

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