Helping the homeless

Mark Weights, Adam Holt, Mayor of St Helens Geoff Almond and Lesley Loboda at Boundary Court.
Mark Weights, Adam Holt, Mayor of St Helens Geoff Almond and Lesley Loboda at Boundary Court.

A NEW facility is helping homeless people from St Helens to integrate into the wider community.

Boundary Court, which features eight general needs flats managed by Riverside and eight supported housing flats managed by St Helens Accommodation Project (SHAP), replaces OneSixTwo, a residential resettlement project on Prescot Road.

The project has been running in the new building since October 2011 but was officially launched at an open day last month by Mayor of St Helens Geoff Almond.

Riverside neighbourhood manager Lesley Loboda said: “Integration into a new community outside of homelessness is one of the keys to successful resettlement.

“Initially, there was some hostility from residents who were apprehensive about having a homeless scheme on their doorstep. But, since it opened, we have allayed any fears.

“The community has really bought into what we are doing and the open day was an opportunity for neighbours to meet young residents and see for themselves how determined they are to turn their lives around.”

Mark Weights, director of SHAP, added: “The support we have received from the surrounding community, in particular Westfield Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, has been heart-warming.

“At a time when spending on services for homeless people is being cut, it’s fantastic to welcome a new facility that allows vulnerable people to take stock, build confidence and learn new skills.”

The supported housing caters for single men or women aged 16 to 25. The house is staffed 24/7 and each resident is allocated a keyworker who helps residents claim benefits and access training, education or employment.

Residents also complete modules on budgeting and debt, cooking and nutrition, health and hygiene and practical DIY.

Former resident Adam Holt said: “Boundary Court is amazing and really gives young people who are homeless the opportunity to be taught independent living skills in a safe environment.

“Even though I’ve got my own place now, I know if I need anything the door is always open.”