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Panellists confirmed for Walsall Homelessness Prevention Conference 2023

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Expert panellists have now been secured for Walsall’s Homelessness and Housing Steering Group annual Homelessness Prevention Conference. The event will be held on Wednesday 6 September 2023 (9am – 1pm) at Walsall Arena and Arts Centre.

This half day conference, hosted by GSA on behalf of Walsall Council, will focus on how the cost-of-living crisis is impacting Walsall residents as we begin to prepare for a challenging winter, whilst exploring practical solutions to prevent the risk of homelessness.

There will be two panel discussions throughout the conference:

Session One: How is the cost-of-living impacting Walsall residents?

With rising food and energy costs, the cost of living is really affecting households across Walsall and the UK. Many who until now have been able to make ends meet, will begin to be pushed towards poverty.

This session will look at the impact of the cost of living on Walsall residents and begin to explore what can be done to reduce the risk of homelessness in the borough, particularly for individuals and families on low income.

Our guest speakers for the first session include:

  • Allan Boot, Walsall Coordinator at Black Country Foodbank
    Allan has been giving benefit advice and debt counselling to people in the borough of Walsall for 23 years. Since 2016, through his employment with WMAP, he has also been working with The Black Country Foodbank (BCFB) which is based in Brierley Hill, as their Walsall Coordinator.
  • Sureya Gulzar, Health and Housing Partnership Manager at Walsall Housing Group (whg)
    Sureya is an accomplished Health and Housing Partnership Manager at whg and currently spearheads the Health and Housing Forum across the Black Country, collaborating closely with the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) and social housing providers across the region.
  • Nadia Inglis, Consultant in Public Health at Walsall Council
    In her role as Consultant in Public Health at Walsall Council, Nadia is the lead for Inequalities, Substance Misuse and Mental Wellbeing. Some of Nadia’s current work areas include: supporting the NHS and local authority health inequality programmes, commissioning of drug and alcohol services and delivery of Walsall’s 10 year mental wellbeing strategy.

Session Two: How is the cost-of-living crisis leading to an increase in domestic abuse cases?

The increased financial burdens caused by the current cost of living have placed additional strain on households where individuals are living with domestic abuse.

This session will look at the housing sector in Walsall, who alongside other key agencies, has a significant role to play in supporting people to manage tenancies, access funds and put plans in place to help the most vulnerable live a life free from abuse.

Our confirmed panellists for the second session so far include:

  • Carol Kelly, Regional Operations Manager at Black Country Women’s Aid
    Carol is the Operational Lead for the Domestic Abuse Services across the region, managing the day-to-day operations of the Domestic Violence Advisor (DVA) Community Team. Carol is also the Deputy Chair for the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) covering Walsall, Dudley and Sandwell.
  • Lauren Fleckney, Practice Consultant at SafeLives
    Lauren joined SafeLives in 2020 and has 14 years' experience working within the housing sector including as a lead for a Complex Cases pilot developing new ways of working with the most high-risk customers. 
  • Herbie Khosah, Housing Independent Domestic Violence Advisor (IDVA) at Walsall Council
    Herbie is currently working in the Homelessness and Housing Advice team as a Housing IDVA with Walsall Council.  Herbie’s IDVA specialism includes working with young people and she has recently qualified as an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor (ISVA) which enables her to work with victims of sexual violence too.
  • Simon Peleszok, Responsible Business Team TSB Bank
    Simon has almost 20 years’ experience working in high street banking and has used this experience to help TSB Bank to shape and deliver initiatives that support victim-survivors of domestic abuse. Notably, this includes the Emergency Flee Fund, launched in December 2022, providing TSB customers who are escaping domestic abuse with between £50 and £500.

More guest panellists will be confirmed before the event.

To find out more about the Walsall Homelessness Prevention Conference and to secure your place head here.