Speaker sees homeless work is well in Order, Order!
Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, is the latest high profile figure to show interest in the work being done to help homeless people in Stafford.
Stafford Borough Council was singled out in the House of Lords earlier this year after government figures showed rough sleeping in the area had halved - and the council was also invited to appear on national TV for a discussion on tackling the issues of homelessness and rough sleepers.
The Rt Honourable John Bercow MP - the Commons Speaker since 2009 - visited Eagle House in Stafford last week to find out about the successful projects that have been implemented.
The whistle-stop tour included a talk with Suzanne Rigby, dubbed the ‘Angel of Stafford’ by rough sleepers in the town, and a visit to Eagle House – which is run by us and has been instrumental in delivering the new ‘Housing First’ project to get homeless people into long term, sustainable accommodation.
Both of the initiatives were able to go ahead after the council secured more than £200,000 of Government funding.
The council was the first in the Midlands to reach gold standard for its homeless work - helping around 850 people and families keep a roof over their head since April 2017 – and is now seen as leading the way in tackling the issue.
Tom Harrison, Director of Supported Living, was among those accompanying the Speak on his visit, along with Jeremy Lefroy MP for Stafford and Cllr Jeremy Pert, the council’s Cabinet Member for Communities.
The Speaker thanked everyone involved in the work and said: “This is an admirable initiative involving several partners, with much thought given to it, and it is starting to show real benefits. It is terrific to see the joy that is derived from the work everyone here is doing in making people’s lives better.”
Tom Harrison, said: “Together with Stafford Borough Council we are leading the way in using the Housing First model to try and meet the needs of entrenched rough sleepers and those who have experienced a ‘revolving door’ in terms of traditional homeless services.
“The honourable member was impressed with both the quality of the accommodation and support offered at Eagle House as well as our working in partnership with the council.”
Councillor Pert appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme earlier this year discussing the success of the ‘Housing First’ project and Community Matron.
He said: “We are not letting up on our efforts to ensure residents have a roof over their head and that rough sleepers are given the appropriate help and support. The fact that we are being talked about on a national stage will hopefully help to secure further funding to continue with these initiatives.
“We are committed to preventing homelessness wherever possible through early intervention and supporting people into long term, sustainable accommodation.”
Speaker John Bercow is pictured discussing the project with community matron Suzanne Rigby, left, and team leader Jo Young.