Homeless project success

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A project by a Ripley-based housing group has helped homeless people in Amber Valley get back on their feet .

Futures Homescape, on Asher Lane, set up the First Steps project in September 2013 and recent figures show they have since helped around 33 people.

The project is run in conjunction with Amber Valley Borough Council and Erewash Borough Council.

Three units have been created where up to 11 people can live temporarily until they are able to organise permanent accommodation.

Kerry Gerrard, who runs the First Steps project, said: “Being homeless does not mean sleeping rough. People can be classed as homeless for a variety of different reasons such as people staying with friends, squatters, those living in unsuitable conditions or someone who is fleeing the threat of violence. We’ve had people from 17 all the way up to age 91 staying at our units, so homelessness can affect anyone at any time.

“These people just need some support and a bit of a break and we’re delighted to offer it via the First Steps project.”

The first unit was opened in Ripley in September 2013, creating space for three people to live.

A second, in Heanor, was opened in August 2014 with room for another four people and a third, opened in Ilkeston in March 2015, has room for another four people.

Clive Wain, 58, stayed at the Ripley unit for around three months in 2014 and is now living in permanent accommodation.

He said: “The support I received was brilliant. I was helped with things like paperwork to get myself sorted and lending me a phone to call 0800 numbers so I could get in touch with the Job Centre. I’m really grateful.”

Figures show that around 400 households in Amber Valley were eligible for homeless status between July and September 2014, and around 60 people were sleeping rough in Derbyshire.