Brushstrokes Community Project has received £45,000 to help prevent homelessness. The grant from Nationwide Building Society will fund their two-year project, Safe and Secure in Sandwell.
Thanks to the grant, Brushstrokes will be able to help people who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, and those experiencing problems with their housing. This includes EU nationals, refugees and vulnerable migrants at risk of exploitation, coercion, and violence.
Project Manager, Dave Newall, said, “We are delighted to receive this funding from Nationwide Building Society, which will enable us to support people who find themselves in very vulnerable situations. It means we can continue helping people who are sleeping rough or at risk of homelessness, and make sure they get the support they need when they need it most.”
Brushstrokes will support tenants and landlords, using a preventative approach to resolve problems and help maintain tenancies. Through specialist advice and support, they will help tenants understand their rights and how to exercise them, and support landlords to understand their rights and responsibilities.
The project will offer specialist advice on housing and benefits to help prevent vulnerable individuals from becoming homeless. This will include budgeting advice, help to apply for universal credit, and supporting people through the complex housing benefits system.
Brushstrokes will also provide training to smaller organisations in the area, so they have the skills and knowledge to go on and support people themselves. By sharing their expertise, Brushstrokes will empower these organisations so that more people can be reached.
An increase in demand for housing has seen an increase in the number of rogue landlords in Sandwell. Migrants are significantly more at risk of being exploited by rogue landlords than the wider population. Many are paying inflated rent, being denied access to benefits, and losing their accommodation. Brushstrokes helps address these issues to ensure that people are safe and secure in their homes. It supports people to resolve immigration issues, secure benefits and helps rough sleepers to find permanent accommodation.
Brushstrokes is the only place in Sandwell where vulnerable migrants can be supported by one organisation that can offer continued and ongoing support. It is the only organisation with specialist immigration, housing, and benefits knowledge and has supported people in the area for over 20 years.
Lauris is one such person who turned to Brushstrokes when he needed urgent support. He was living in temporary accommodation and relied on Brushstrokes for food. Brushstrokes helped Lauris successfully apply to the settlement scheme for EU citizens. This meant he could then apply for universal credit, which he could not do before. Brushstrokes also helped him to find more permanent accommodation. Lauris says, “I feel fortunate to receive help from Brushstrokes. I can start looking forward now to my future.”
Find out more about Brushstrokes at www.brushstrokessandwell.org.uk.
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