A new scheme which has been set up in Leicester to prevent homelessness, has already helped one resident to find her way back onto her feet, and a career in caring.
Beam is an online fundraising platform and social enterprise, designed to help homeless people and council tenants at risk of homelessness to find work and stable accommodation.
First launched in London in 2017, the initiative enables residents to fundraise for 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.
Their webpage includes their personal story and an itemised budget breakdown of how much they need to raise. Members of the public can then donate as little as £1 and leave a message of support.
Since its launch, Beam has since gone on to support over 750 homeless people across the UK into stable jobs and homes. Leicester has been chosen by Beam as the first major city to launch outside London.
Those it has helped so far, include single mother Jessica, (pictured), who was at risk of homelessness in Leicester.
The 27-year-old mum of three fell into difficulties after losing her job and the subsequent breakdown of her relationship.
With the support of Beam she successfully fundraised £2,134 from 55 members of the public to become a carer.
The funds went towards childcare and travel costs, work attire, a smartphone, safeguarding training and a DBS check. She recently started work as a carer at Bupa.
“I cannot thank the Beam community enough! It is a very new feeling to me as I’ve never experienced people genuinely wanting to help me with my goals”, said Jessica.
“I want to be a working mother, able to provide more for my children and give them a better life and the fact that people are supporting me in this is amazing.”
She added: “I’m also very grateful to Leicester City Council and particularly Mr Karim, for referring me to Beam and for all their help and ongoing support.”
The city council is working with Beam, which is currently being piloted in the city.
The pilot scheme will initially benefit 50 council tenants, rough sleepers and those in temporary accommodation. Residents are referred to the scheme by the city council’s housing workers, and each person is assigned a caseworker from Beam, who supports them on their journey into work and housing.
“No-one should have to experience homelessness. We’re determined to help anyone who finds themselves in this position gain access to a decent home and a brighter future”, said Cllr Elly Cutkelvin, assistant city mayor for housing.
“We were chosen by Beam for this partnership – their first major city launch outside London – because of our innovative approaches to tackling homelessness. This speaks volumes about how well-regarded our work in this area is.”
“Working with organisations like Beam means we can help people to access individual, tailored support to start a job-seeking journey. By working together, we boost the support that we can provide”, she added.
Existing council tenants who might be interested in a referral to Beam, can contact their income management officer or rent management advisor. More information on the city council’s services for people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness can be found at www.leicester.gov.uk/homelessness