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- In Practice
First Needs Response
ORGANISATION: Extern NI
Frontline workers need instant access to a fund which can respond to immediate need on an individual level.
Frontline workers are often the first point of contact for a homeless person/person at risk of homelessness or just released from custody. Food banks and crisis loans often cannot respond to immediate need.
The idea is that the experience and judgement of frontline workers is tapped in to, as they are best placed to understand what poses the most risk to the client at point of entry.
We require access to a fund which responds to immediate need.
Currently we are losing that first positive contact with the most vulnerable clients, because we cannot respond to their most pressing need.
Client needs are varied, some examples:
- a client secures emergency accommodation but has no money for food/lighting/heating and it’s a Friday evening
- a client is housed but has no money to attend an urgent medical appointment the next day
- a client is offered accommodation 25 miles away from all support networks. They have no money to get a bus to see their family, and they become isolated, resulting in a deterioration of their mental health condition. They end up homeless again in less than a week.
- a pregnant woman is given emergency accommodation but arrives to an empty flat
- a woman presents at the office with only the clothes she has on, and no emergency accommodation can be secured, we need to be able to access a B&B for the night.
These needs are varied, and what is required is a flexible holistic response.
This could be a basic home starter pack, money for light/food, a B&B for the night for the most vulnerable, the price of a travel ticket.
The frontline worker needs instant access to a fund which can respond to immediate need on an individual level.
Grant systems have dramatically changed some people’s lives, but it remains very difficult to meet people’s basic needs at the point of contact. This need is more acute in rural areas where services are often limited.