Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Hartlepool, Redcar & Cleveland and Darlington councils have teamed up with Thirteen and Coast & Country to secure over £710,000 in government funding to help households avoid crisis and prevent people becoming homeless.

The five local authorities and two housing associations have secured funding from the Department for Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) homelessness prevention programme. The scheme will see partners become ‘homelessness prevention trailblazers’, to deliver a more targeted approach to preventing homelessness.

Middlesbrough Council will lead the project on behalf of the partnership, while landlord and housing developer Thirteen will lead on delivering the service.

The aim is to provide holistic support for people who may be homeless or face the threat of homelessness, with interventions that extend beyond just addressing housing-related problems to ensure that we identify and meet their wider needs.

Interest in the DCLG scheme was high, with only 28 out of 122 bids across the country being successful. The partnership collectively bid for a total of £710,094 to develop a range of new, innovative approaches that will radically reshape the delivery homelessness prevention. The scheme will run for two years.

Ian Wardle, chief executive at Thirteen, said:

“As a caring landlord and housing developer, one of our priorities is to provide support and opportunities. We’re for anyone who needs a home and perhaps some help to get so we are delighted that the partnership has secured funding from the DCLG flagship ‘Homelessness Trailblazers fund’.

“This extra money will help identify people at risk of homelessness as early as possible. It will also improve residents’ lives by offering advice, support and opportunities from finding a job to building their resilience and independence. This innovative support will also enable people to take greater control of their lives.

“Thirteen already has a strong track record in successfully delivering homeless support services, and this will build on that experience for the benefit of a wider group of people.”

Councillor Mick Thompson, Executive member for Communities and Public Health at Middlesbrough Council, said:

“This is an excellent example of partners working together to secure over £710,000 funding that will benefit the Tees Valley.

“We are looking forward to working with our partners to build an evidence base on ‘what works’ to prevent homelessness and share best practice.

“This approach is forward-thinking, ambitious and will demonstrate an effective partnership.”

Preparation has already started for the new project which will ‘go live’ in April this year.