News Innovative project aims to tackle homelessness in Maidstone

Innovative project aims to tackle homelessness in Maidstone  image

A new initiative that is set to help 50 homeless people in Maidstone has been launched. The ultimate aim of the project is to prevent anyone having to sleep rough on the borough’s streets.

Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) and Beam, an online fundraising platform and social enterprise, are working together to help homeless people and council tenants at risk of homelessness, to find work and stable accommodation.

Through Beam’s platform, residents can read the personal stories of people who are in need, and donate towards the cost of items that can be a financial obstacle to starting work or moving into a new home, such as job training, childcare, a laptop, travel costs or rental deposits.

Each person's page includes an itemised budget breakdown of how much they need to raise. Members of the public can donate and leave a message of support. They also receive feel-good updates as people progress on their journey out of homelessness. Beam ensures everyone reaches their target by spreading out 80 percent of public donations equally, so no-one gets left behind.

Residents are referred to the scheme by MBC’s housing workers, and each person is assigned a caseworker from Beam, who supports them on their journey into work and housing.

Cllr Simon Webb, Lead Member for Housing and Health at MBC said:

“By working with organisations like Beam we can help people to get individual, tailored support to start a job-seeking journey. Offering individuals the support they need in getting back into employment is paramount in finding a route out of homelessness for good."

Beam first launched in London in 2017, and has since gone on to support more than 1,200 homeless people across the UK into stable jobs and homes. As well as providing funding support, Beam helps job-seekers with CV writing, job interview preparation and online job applications.

Beam then matches residents with local employers and landlords.  Some of the most popular career paths for Beam’s beneficiaries include security, support work, care, warehouse and logistics work, construction and hospitality.

Seb Barker, co-founder and chief operating officer of Beam, said:

“Beam is using technology to empower the most disadvantaged people in our society, by giving them an online support network and all the tools they need to accelerate their journey into stable work and housing.

“We look forward to working with local employers in Maidstone who want to play their part in improving social mobility and hiring overlooked talent to fill skills shortages.”

Cllr Webb continued:

“One of our key priorities is to address homelessness and rough sleeping and to move people into settled accommodation. By working collaboratively with organisations like Beam, we boost the support we can provide and hope to bring an end to homelessness in Maidstone. No-one should have to experience homelessness. We’re determined to help anyone who finds themselves in this position to gain access to a decent home and a brighter future.”

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Photo of Maidstone Borough Council Housing Team with a representative from Beam.

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