New resource launched for homeless jobseekers in Glasgow

Councillor Frank McAveety with the homelessness easement card and IWS resources
Councillor Frank McAveety with the homelessness easement card and IWS resources

Glasgow City Council’s Poverty Leadership Panel (PLP) has launched a pocket sized information card to help homeless jobseekers.

The homelessness easement card, as it’s become known, is aimed at unemployed homeless individuals who could be missing out on welfare payments or being unfairly categorised for benefits or Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) because they have wrongly or mistakenly stating their housing situation.

The card was created to overcome the challenge of welfare benefit claimants mistakenly failing to tell work coaches during meetings that they are homeless and falling into the Universal Credit process in error that can lead to sanctions and take a period of time to rectify.

It aims to explain being homeless can mean many things, not just rough sleeping, and it is important to tell Job centre staff if you are in this situation.

The simple pocket sized card was designed with the help of council, Department for Work and Pensions staff and homeless clients themselves, some of whom did not categorise themselves as homeless because they were living in a homeless unit, bed and breakfast or sofa surfing.

Importantly they may also be missing out on the possibly of having an easement applied to their claim - a discretionary power Job Centre staff can use to change what is expected of new JSA claimants who are homeless and sleeping rough or in certain some kinds of supported accommodation.

Staff and work coaches have been trained to recognise the cards and provide support and apply homeless easement which puts the focus on finding accommodation before and accessing other support.

The cards also carry a message on Glasgow’s libraries with free access to books, computer classes and electoral registration as homeless individuals living in temporary accommodation can still register to vote.

The PLP was established in May 2013 following a series of meetings to discuss poverty with some of the key representatives of Glasgow, which included citizens with lived experience of poverty, the Third Sector Forum, Glasgow City Council and housing associations among others.

The Panel has also launched online resource to support those in low paid jobs and low income families who, despite being in employment, still suffer financial hardship.

In Work Support (IWS) provides a range of information, in one single place, to help those on low incomes and with families to support to find out about further financial assistance and benefits available to them.

Both resources have been developed by members of the PLP, including Community Activist Panel members and Glasgow City Council, Department for Work and Pensions, Money Advice Service and further education colleges.

Glasgow City Mission and their service users were also instrumental in helping to support the design and distribution of the homelessness cards.

Councillor Frank McAveety, co-chair of the Poverty Leadership Panel, said: “In creating this bank of In Work Support information, in a single place, we want people to know that help doesn’t just stop when you find a job.

“Gaining employment is a positive move and there is additional assistance out there to make being in employment worthwhile, not just financially but in terms of improving wellbeing and participating in society.

“However, for some, the priority should first and foremost about finding somewhere to stay before taking on the challenge of finding employment. Hopefully this card will help overcome some of the challenges that many homeless people face in claiming welfare payments and finding work.”

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