Everyone’s story of homelessness is different. So the solutions to help shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all. Our grants of up to £200 are awarded to individual homeless people to help them take the next step in their journey towards a home of their own.
That could mean helping them from rough sleeping and into a hostel, or helping them from temporary accommodation and into their first private tenancy with a front door of their very own.
28-year-old Amal approached an Employment and Training officer shortly after moving into a hostel. “I always had a clear direction of what I wanted to do. It was hard but I never gave up,” he says.
He began to raise the money he would need to gain a Security Industry Authority licence. Recognising his potential, Amal’s keyworker John asked Church Housing Trust to provide the rest of the funding. This made Amal even more determined to successfully find work.
From day one, Amal desperately wanted to integrate himself back into the community after a difficult life, his experience of mental illness, and leaving hospital.” He is now able to rejoin the community, and begin supporting his child.John, Amal’s Keyworker
£100 seems like £10,000 to some peopleDan, ex-offender now, full time Support Project Manager
Getting off the streets is hard.
Staying off them can be even harder.
Everyone has their own personal demons they struggle with – be it addiction, mental health problems or surviving an abusive upbringing. And every homeless person walks the same financial tightrope – trying to rebuild their lives without any safety net or margin for error.
It’s easy for any setback to knock you back down and onto the streets again.
We know that homelessness is rarely just a financial problem. It is a very harsh, isolating experience that takes a huge toll on people’s mental health and self-confidence. Homeless people are routinely mistreated and mistrusted by society.
The only relationships they have are often with other people on the streets – which are frequently unhealthy ones based on violence and drugs.
Projects that build skills and confidence
Many homeless people have experienced trauma, isolation and personal struggles as well as the heartbreaking prospect of a life on the streets with little access to adequate clothing, hygiene and food. When they finally have a roof over their head, many struggle with self-esteem and confidence problems and may not have the right skills to help them find employment and rebuild their lives.
We fund the courses, clubs, skills and projects they need to help them gain the skills, self-esteem and confidence they need going forward.
Here’s some examples
Therapeutic activities provide positive experiences, new skills, friendships, and a sense of achievement. This year we funded a variety of in-scheme groups such as tai chi, creative writing, gardening, and art classes. These groups provide homeless people opportunities to express emotions and try new hobbies.
The ‘Changes’ music studio in Westminster offers a range of positive, creative activities to former rough sleepers with addictions and other complex needs. Music gives them new ways to express themselves and socialise with one another. We funded the equipment to enable participants to record music sessions and their own podcasts.
Many homeless people have experienced trauma, the impact of which can be a factor in their homelessness much later in life. An unstable background may be one of the many factors that meant they lost their home, and could be preventing them from beginning their lives again. And after even a short time on the streets, it can become hard to think about having a place to sleep, cook, or pay bills.
Added extras that Church Homeless Trust funds encourage residents of homelessness schemes to consider their health and well-being in a number of ways. Funding goes towards healthy eating and cooking-on-a-budget sessions; psychology and counselling open days; interaction with other local services such as hospitals and support groups; and practical courses such as First Aid training. A short course can provide a huge sense of empowerment and much-needed confidence.
“Until today I didn’t know how to make pancakes; I felt a sense of achievement and didn’t feel judged.”Veteran, his first day.