08 Jul 2021

Homeless assessment hub set to open

A new homeless assessment hub will open its doors next week, providing specialist support to those most in need.

The assessment hub will help vulnerable people avoid sleeping rough by providing a roof over their head, providing tailored support to help them rebuild their lives and support them to access the other vital services they need, such as support with finding employment and access to any health care they need.

People will stay at the service for a relatively short period of time, around six weeks, during which the intensive support they receive will help make them ready to move into the next stage of their housing journey en route to securing a permanent home of their own.  

Named “Howard House” in memory of Howard Derham who tragically died while homeless in 2017, the centre is being run by experienced homelessness charity, The Salvation Army.

The hub will be part of the Island's homelessness pathway and referral service and is a key part of the Isle of Wight Council's drive to end rough sleeping.

Councillor Ian Stephens, who is responsible for housing needs, said: "Howard House will provide a safe place from which individuals can start to rebuild and live their lives.

"These are people who need to be treated with dignity, care and respect, but they may have been overwhelmed with adverse events and circumstances happening in their lives.

"The new facility will help to focus provision around each individual person, which is the best way to understand their needs and to help set a path to permanent accommodation for them."

The council has invested around £500,000 into the new centre, with a further £362,000 secured from the government.

The major refurbishment of the building — the former Barton Primary School — was undertaken by Island firm, Trevor Jones Contracting Ltd.

Matthew Smith, assistant regional manager for The Salvation Army’s Homelessness Services, said: “We are pleased to be the provider of this new and innovative assessment hub where our focus will be on preventing rough sleeping and reducing homelessness.

“We have been working with the council and other agencies to tackle homelessness for a number of years. Having been part of the strategic planning for the new pathway on the Island to reduce homelessness, we are excited to see Howard House come to fruition.

“As well as providing a safe environment, we will work collaboratively with agencies on the Island, offering an individual approach to help people take the next step out of homelessness.”

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Councillor Karl Love cuts the ribbon
Councillor Karl Love cuts the ribbon
  • The assessment hub will help vulnerable people avoid sleeping rough.
  • The hub will be part of the Island's homelessness pathway and referral service.
Isle of Wight, UK