Preventing homelessness in Reading

CEO blog May

Launchpad is keen to expand its education, training and education (ETE) function – which gives our clients the opportunity to work towards their aspirations for the future and achieve their goals. We think we can support even more of our clients to learn how to use a computer, get paid employment or pursue a new interest. After receiving bespoke support from our ETE team, which includes many dedicated volunteers, our clients have gone on to study English after struggling to read and write, secure a placement with the NHS, start a job as a cleaner, and begin setting up their own business. I’ll update you over the coming months on our progress.

Lana, one of our drop-in service volunteers, was concerned about an older man who told us he was sleeping on the streets. He looked unwell and was in desperate trouble. Between Lana and our floating support team, they managed to get him into the Salvation Army hostel in Reading. He is now back on his feet and looking for a new place to live. This is just one example of great work from our staff and volunteers in drop-in and floating support.

Launchpad appears to be spending more time fighting poor decisions. This morning, Launchpad’s solicitor informed a landlord that a section 21 eviction does not mean he can throw a tenant out with just eight weeks’ notice. The tenant, who had come to our drop-in service for support, was terrified he was going to be on the streets in June. We need a better system of leases in this country and an end to no fault section 21 as soon as possible.

In October last year, one of our clients was unreasonably refused ESA, which is an allowance for people with significant illnesses – putting him at risk of homelessness. With the help of his Launchpad support worker, he appealed the decision and has now had his ESA reinstated. What is most concerning about this process is the mendaciousness of the Department for Work and Pensions in rightfully granting people with long-term illnesses their benefits, leaving people in a position where they may lose their home.

A few recommendations from me:

TV series of the month: The Hour

The Hour is an old BBC series which is set in the 1950s and follows reporters at a BBC news programme. Series one focuses on the Suez crisis and the various relations at the studio – great fun.

Books  of the month: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu is a wonderful fantasy story of the Han period in Chinese history – a sort of Game of Thrones in China (but no dragons so far in this trilogy).

Fighting the People’s War by Jonathan Fennell

Fighting the People’s War is an outstanding history of ordinary men during the Second World War, the issues they and their families faced, and what made them fight.