Croydon Council’s groundbreaking approach to preventing homelessness and improving local families’ prospects won last night (Wednesday) at a national awards ceremony.
The MJ Achievement Awards 2019 recognised local authorities across the country whose initiatives and staff have made an exceptional difference to their residents and local area, and Croydon Council’s Gateway service was named as the winner in the Delivering Better Outcomes category.
Gateway was begun to support thousands of Croydon people at risk of homelessness as a result of welfare reform. It has now become a council-wide prevention and early intervention approach to boost the futures of local people, working across council departments and in the community with local partners in the private, public and voluntary sectors.
Gateway’s initiatives include:
• A 365-day support hub for rough sleepers
• London’s first combined welfare and food club called Food Stop
• An emergency cold weather homelessness shelter in partnership with Crystal Palace FC
• Accommodation for the most vulnerable rough sleepers under the principles of Housing First
• An initiative called All About Me that supports disabled jobseekers into the retail sector
Croydon’s post-Grenfell fire safety work was named a runner-up in the Best Social Housing Initiative category for its programme retrofitting sprinklers in over 1,250 households in 26 council tower blocks.
Under the MJ Achievement Awards’ category of Care and Health Integration, Croydon also received a separate commendation for the work of One Croydon Alliance, a partnership with the NHS and Age UK to boost residents’ independence by preventing unnecessary hospital stays.
The MJ Awards nominations come after Croydon Council was named a winner in two categories at the Local Government Chronicle Awards in March – Campaign of the Year for the Choose Your Future drive to unite the borough against youth violence, and One Croydon Alliance won the Health and Social Care Award.
“Our Gateway service has helped thousands of people to both avoid homelessness and improve their long-term financial independence and outlook for the future.
“Councils across the country have been influenced by the work done in this superb Croydon initiative, and this award is well-deserved national recognition for a great effort by Gateway staff working with our partners.”
Councillor Alison Butler, deputy leader and cabinet member for homes and Gateway services