Building skills to deal with local councils and homelessness
TDS Charitable Foundation funded Law for Life to develop a national integrated education and information project to help private renters avoid homelessness. This project extended our existing work to support private renters, including guides and training on Dealing with disrepair and Section 21 evictions.
What we did
We created short, practical guides for tenants in the private rented sector showing them what to do if they are threatened with homelessness, are made homeless, or do not get an appropriate response to their homelessness application. These guides are available on Advicenow:
- What to do if you are threatened with homelessness
- What to do if you are homeless
- How to challenge the decision about your homelessness application
We also delivered 4 regional workshops in partnership with the national Litigant in Person Support Strategy to ensure maximum reach. This training will be targeted at trusted intermediaries working with people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including those working or volunteering in housing and homelessness, migrant support, health support, and community projects.
“I really enjoyed the training provided by Francesca and David and feel much more confident in dealing with housing issues with my clients.” - Workshop participant
How we did it
The project ran from October 2018 to June 2019. We ran a series of training workshops in London, Brighton, Birmingham and Newcastle over the course of the project in coalition with local groups including Groundswell, a homelessness organisation based in Brixton and the Brighton and Hove Homelessness Coalition. it total we engaged with 26 organisations across the country.
The printed guides were distributed to attendees at the workshops and additional sets of guides were provided to attendees to share with colleagues and partner organisations. We will distribute the remaining printed guides in meetings with partner organisations and during future, planned training events that will take place in London later in the year and into 2020. The guides have been promoted at three advice sector conferences, the Access to Justice: Sharing Solutions Conference, the LawWorks Clinic Network Conference, and the Annual Frontline Network Conference. They have also been promoted with our partner organisations, the Litigant in Person Strategy, and via social media, in particular on Facebook and Twitter.
“I cannot stress how good this course is. Yet again we won a case today and duty of care accepted by council our client is safe. This course gives you all the basics and a great foundation...” - Housing activist, Brighton
Why we did it
After running prior training sessions on housing related issues and collating feedback we established that the top area of need is information about how to best approach your local authority if you find yourself threatened with homelessness. Participants mentioned wanting help to get a positive response from local authorities regarding evictions, how to approach homeless persons units and the best way of getting local authorities to help people facing homelessness. As the new Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 is now in force, this is a good time to help tenants in the private rented sector understand how this legislation can help them. Although there are some briefings about the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 for advisers available on the web by organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Housing, Shelter and Homeless Link, there seems to be little information specifically designed for and targeted at private rented sector tenants who are threatened with homelessness. Shelter's main website has been updated to reflect the changes brought in by this Act, but our new guides will fill a gap and target a specific audience.
"It was particularly useful to learn about “arguments to combat local authorities turning away individuals who I work with” - Workshop participant
We hope that the resources generated through this project will be used by a variety of groups, service providers and individuals and will bring increasing confidence in their legal skills to people across the country
Law for life is a charity dedicated to ensuring that people have the knowledge, confidence and skills needed to deal with the problems that affect their lives. We provide multimedia information and education that explains how to manage legal situations in a straight-forward way. We run the award-winning Advicenow website providing a hand-picked and checked information service that draws together the best up-to-date information about the law and rights available on the internet. And we support other organisations around the world to help their users make sense of the law through our research, consultancy and training.
If you would like more information about this project, please contact us.