Host Organisation: Shelter – Plymouth

Hana Cogingsford

Hana began her training contract with Shelter Plymouth in February 2021 and is currently assisting with a caseload of diverse Housing Law cases. This includes providing advocacy at court and supporting strategic litigation with a view to effecting wider systemic change.

Hana has lived experience of youth homelessness which has led her to develop a longstanding commitment to furthering social justice, especially in the field of Housing and Public Law. She began her career as a project worker in a drop-in centre for homeless young people before specialising in the provision of legal advice. Throughout her professional development, Hana has worked with a diverse range of charities including the Amicus Project, Bristol Hospitality Network, Sussex Central YMCA, Bristol Law Centre, and Citizens Advice. She has also gained paralegal experience in Irwin Mitchell’s leading Public Law and Human Rights team.

Hana graduated with an LLB in Law from the University of Sussex. She obtained an Individual Professional Award from SOAS, University of London in Project Management and Evaluation. Following this, Hana completed her Legal Practice Course, as part of an LLM at BPP University. Whilst pursuing her studies, Hana worked as a student mentor and later as a coordinator for BPP’s Human Rights Unit. Here she enjoyed supporting others to develop an interest and understanding of the fundamental importance of universal Human Rights.

During her training contract, Hana will complete secondments within Citizens Advice and AH Solicitors, developing her practice in Welfare Rights and Community Care Law.

Project – South West Prevention Project

Hana is looking forward to launching the South West Prevention Project which will provide housing advice to communities within Devon and Cornwall. The project will aim to meet the needs of people at risk of homelessness or residing in insecure housing.

Throughout the project, Hana will work with local stakeholders to understand the barriers faced by people in need of housing advice. She will undertake casework and strategic litigation to increase the reach, quality and availability of Personalised Housing Plans under the Homelessness Reduction Act. Hana will develop training sessions for housing advisers, local advice services and develop a library of resources for those who are facing the threat of homelessness.

The project will be embedded within a bespoke structure of evaluation to facilitate learning and best practice throughout the life of the project. It is hoped that the project will utilise technological tools to address the barriers many face in accessing advice and assistance across the South West.

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