We are really excited to have begun a new programme this summer, with an ambitious aim to support 80 people into employment over the next two years.
The new Intensive Employment Support Programme has been developed alongside Tower Hamlets Family Intervention Project across the borough, and combines Kineara’s flagship Rent Support Programme to create a unique model designed that integrates rent support and employment support into one.
We have already begun working with several residents of Poplar Harca Housing Association, with other housing associations already expressing interest running the service alongside their existing employment support work.
Our Rent Support Programme has already been successful in preventing evictions for families whose rent arrears had led them to the brink of eviction proceedings, with 97% of residents who completed the programme remaining in their homes after the intensive 10 week intervention.
Many of those families were among the thousands in Tower Hamlets who have faced unemployment and the precariousness it causes. These challenges have also recently been intensified by the benefit cap reductions and extended welfare reform. We have been able to secure training or employment for nearly half of the residents we’ve worked with, which has had a huge impact whether they are able to keep a secure tenancy.
We’re excited to bring our expertise to a context we know well. We’ll be able to connect residents with all kinds of useful services already available in the borough but that some people face barriers engaging with, like job broker Skills Match, Workforce Development, Bromley by Bow, as well as employment bodies linked to the Family Intervention Service and the local community.
As always, a dedicated support worker will work intensively with jobseekers using the same holistic approach that guides all our work, making sure that their overall wellbeing is taken into account. This might mean making sure therapeutic support is available, or skills training, or access to proper healthcare, so that people are able to secure work that is not only stable but also suited to them and their needs.
This project contributes to a new borough wide strategy to tackle unemployment, which includes training and support for local people to find job opportunities in the borough – as well as supporting businesses to create quality and well paid jobs locally – as one of its top employment priorities for 2016-17. This is important for another of its priorities, which is to ensure local low-income residents can access decent housing in the borough, which is becoming increasingly expensive and threatens to price out local residents.