Thanet’s RISE rough sleeper team scoops top county award

Danilo and Thanet Rise team

The Thanet RISE team, based at Thanet District Council, has won the ‘Team of the Year’ prize at the Kent Housing Group Excellence Awards – just one year after it was formed.

RISE stands for Rough sleeper Intervention, Support and Empowerment. It was set up to help rough sleepers when trying to find and keep accommodation.

The project is spearheaded by Thanet District Council, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and the Forward Trust. It also involves the Thanet Winter Shelter, Salvation Army, Pathways Ltd and Paramount Independent Property Services.

The Thanet RISE team, which includes a dedicated substance misuse and mental health worker, landlord liaison officers, Serveco and Citizens Advice Thanet, are all co-located at the council’s offices.

The aim is for those in need to get support and help as quickly as possible, taking away the time spent making contact and referrals to other organisations. The scheme also considers the way rough sleepers access support – which can often be too overwhelming if services are offered from different places.

The work involves the team carrying out early morning and late night outreach to identify people who are rough sleeping across Thanet. They then work with rough sleepers to develop a support plan that tackles any underlying reasons that would prevent them from finding accommodation. This can range from providing food and clothing, helping someone to complete applications, obtaining identification, supporting emotional and mental wellbeing, physical health, practical skills or support with any substance misuse.

Cllr Helen Whitehead, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing at Thanet District Council (pictured with Winter Shelter manager Danilo Luongo), said:“It is vital to recognise the need to work collaboratively and cohesively to reduce and prevent homelessness, and the work RISE have been doing exemplifies this approach. We are absolutely delighted that this team has been recognised in its first year; it’s testament to their extraordinarily hard work and the difference a new approach can make to outcomes. They have shown exactly how working together can make a significant, positive impact on the lives of those who most need support, not only with housing but also from a range of different organisations.

“We could not be more proud of the team and what they have achieved in such a short space of time. They are passionate, committed, and their continued efforts to support some of the most vulnerable people in our society are inspirational. I know that this year will continue to demonstrate their conviction, commitment and the benefits of their collaborative approach.”

The awards were also successful for Paramount Independent Properties who were nominated by the Council’s housing team for their work assisting vulnerable people through the Beatrice House supported housing scheme. The Paramount Independent Properties team received a Highly Commended award in the category ‘Excellence in delivering services for Vulnerable People’.