EMPLOYERS across Wirral are being urged to back a pledge to support people at risk of or experiencing homelessness, including those ‘sofa surfing’ or in temporary accommodation.

Six months after the Homelessness Covenant was launched in September 2023 by homelessness charity Crisis and the Department for Work and Pensions, 160 leading national businesses have already signed up.

The Covenant encourages employers to provide the support needed for anyone to secure and maintain a job and reap the health and financial benefits that employment offers.

Councillor Jeff Green, Leader of Wirral’s Conservatives, said: "Last month, Wirral Council was given an extra £600,000 to help prevent homelessness in the Borough but councils, and housing associations, cannot do this alone.

"Employers have a key role in supporting their employees who may be at risk of homelessness and provide job opportunities for those without the stability of a secure home.

"The Covenant includes a set of pledges local employers can sign up to, including employment and training opportunities, fairer recruitment and helping to tackle homelessness through volunteering and fundraising.

"I will also be asking Wirral Council, as one of the largest employers in the Borough, to also sign up.”

Crisis chief executive Matt Downie added: "Work can be a powerful tool for ending homelessness and preventing it from happening in the first place. When work is decent, well-paid, and supported by inclusive employment practices and flexible policies, it can be a pathway to stability and security.

"It's been really positive to see the response to the Homelessness Covenant since it launched last year, with businesses from a range of sectors demonstrating a real desire to address the issue.

"Crisis is committed to continuing to advise and support employers, helping them to put the policies and practices in place to build truly inclusive workplaces.”

Businesses can find out more about the Homelessness Covenant, best practice guide, and how to sign up online at https://www.crisis.org.uk/get-involved/homelessness-covenant

Further changes mean that from next month, 1.6 million of the lowest income private renters will gain around £800 a year from increased Local Housing Allowance rates, following changes last year which gave around 200,000 Universal Credit claimants quicker support with their mortgage.