Preventing homelessness in Reading

Meet Janice*

Janice’s benefits were stopped when she didn’t go to the Job Centre on the day of her brother’s funeral. She literally had no money to buy food.

When she came to the Launchpad Drop-in, Chris and Sarah were able to intervene. They called the Job Centre and helped to get her Jobseeker’s Allowance reinstated. Many of the people we help don’t have the confidence to challenge decisions. If Launchpad are able to get involved we can often help sort out problems quickly and prevent a problem becoming a crisis.

Numerous people who come to the Drop-in worry they are going to end up sleeping rough as they are sofa-surfing, relying on the goodwill of friends night after night. We’re able to guide them through the process of being officially verified as homeless with Reading Borough Council. They can then get appropriate help.

Launchpad can also recommend friendly Reading landlords. People who visit the Drop-in for advice are very diverse. Some are very articulate but not aware of their options and the housing process. Some are aware of their options but don’t have the confidence or skills to do something about it.

Most local authority forms are online now. For example, to register for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), you need to be IT literate. When people don’t have the IT skills or equipment to access the information they need to help themselves, we can help. We have access to a phone, computer and the support of volunteers.

*To protect the privacy of those we help names have been changed and models used