Case Studies – Homelessness

The following were compiled as part of our report, ‘What a Difference Faith Makes… to Homelessness!‘.


Food for the hungry

Midland Langar Seva Society

The langar in Sikhism is a free kitchen, serving food to all. This idea has been taken onto the streets by Sikh communities in a number of cities, providing food for homeless people and anyone in need. The Midland Langar Seva Society is one such organisation, providing free food in 11 towns in England and Wales. Sikh communities cook the food, in some cases working in partnership with other organisations, including the Cardiff Homeless Centre, the Salvation Army in Ilford, the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd in Wolverhampton, and other Sikh groups; in others, members simply distribute food in the town centre one or two nights a week, where a queue will have formed before their arrival. Typically, around a dozen volunteers distribute meals and drinks to 140-180 people. The charity does not accept donations of money, but only of food, time, and buildings to use as bases. One of the co-founders of the project speaks of the effect the work has on the volunteers, from his personal experience of becoming more compassionate and thankful for what he has. When someone thanks you for the food, he says, “You shout inside”.

www.facebook.com/midlandlangarsevasociety

Guru Nanak Mission

Guru Nanak Mission runs a langar in Derby, distributing food at weekends in the town centre. The provision of free, nutritious, hot meals for those on or below the poverty line has led users of the service to tell the organisers that they are literally saving lives. One man, who came to the UK from Spain looking for employment and a better quality of life, had no National Insurance number and no right to benefits. He would sleep on a friend’s sofa and spend his days studying English at the library, coming regularly to the project for many months. Eventually he got himself on his feet, found a job and is now a dedicated volunteer with the project, helping cook and distribute meals. In the long term, Guru Nanak Mission would like to set up a rehabilitation centre for homeless people, and to see them given support with their mental health, gaining skills and finding jobs so that they can play a full part in society.

tinyurl.com/pmqnpwt

Parvati Project

The Shiva Trust works in Lancashire and greater Manchester. Inspired by Hindu teachings, the Parvati Project distributes free, vegan home-cooked meals to homeless people from a mobile catering van named Parvati. The van also visits housing estates in deprived areas, distributing hot food and frozen meals. Those who come for food are treated as loving souls who are serving a higher purpose, regardless of how society views them. In addition to providing food, the project aims to raise awareness of issues around food in today’s society.

www.shivatrust.org.uk

Ramadan Tent Project

Open Iftar, run by the Ramadan Tent Project, occurs every evening during the holy month of Ramadan. A free meal to end the day of fasting is shared with everyone who comes to the tent, but the project is particularly aimed at homeless people, as well as international students who might be far from friends and family. The aim is to provide for people in need, to create a social space in which people from all walks of life can interact, to provide a way for Muslims to engage with others and tackle stereotypes, and to show the essence of Islam by bringing people together in a harmonious way during Ramadan.

Prior to the shared meal, an invited speaker addresses the guests. Speakers have included Mehdi Hassan, journalist from the Huffi ngton Post UK; Rabbi Natan Levy of the Board of Deputies of British Jews; Dr Paul Webley, Principal of SOAS, University of London; and representatives from St Mungo’s working in its outreach services and Muslim Women’s Project. Afterwards, there is time for discussion, and then leftover food is delivered
to homeless shelters, including St Mungo’s. The project is staffed by volunteers and was set up as a student-led project at SOAS, although professionals and homeless people are now included among the volunteers. One homeless person who first came to the project as a guest became a volunteer and then joined the steering committee. He found accommodation and a job, from which he has taken leave in order to
participate in the project. He embodies the project’s ethos that homeless people should not be seen only as people in need.

The project has been held in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Over 10,000 meals have been given out. Each evening around 250-300 guests attend, including up
to 30 homeless people.

www.ramadantentproject.com/projects.html

Eat ‘n’ Meet

Eat ‘n’ Meet is a Saturday drop-in service for homeless and vulnerable people in Leicester. It provides a hot meal, opportunities to socialise, and signposting to other services, including housing and health. Guests sign in on arrival and first-time visitors are asked about their accommodation status. If someone is sleeping rough and has not accessed statutory services, the volunteer staff try to find them a place at a nearby
hostel or support them to contact its outreach team. Food is provided by a caterer, paid for by donations, and also by a local Sikh community. Board games, pool and table tennis are available, and guests can chat with each other and with the volunteers, or just rest. Between around 40 and 65 people attend each session. Many report that the company and chance to socialise offered by the project are more important to them than the food. As volunteers get to know the guests, they are able to find out about their needs and offer help. On one occasion, a guest collapsed while at the project and staff were able to quickly get him the necessary medical attention.

The project began in response to an observed need for food for homeless people and for somewhere warm and safe to go, particularly at weekends. The ethos is that volunteers welcome the guests as if into their own home, showing them the same understanding and tolerance they would any guest.
Eat ‘n’ Meet is run by the Islamic Society of Britain and uses the venue of St James the Greater Church; most of the volunteers are Muslim or Christian, but some are of other faiths or none. It is part of the One Roof Leicester consortium of faith, community and voluntary organisations working to address homelessness in the city.

www.isb.org.uk/eatnmeet

Mitzvah Day 365

Mitzvah Day is a worldwide project of the Jewish community, which galvanises people to get involved in local social action projects. While the focus is on Mitzvah Day itself, the aim is that the projects lead to partnerships that continue throughout the year. In this way they work to build stronger communities, meet local needs by creating durable links between different faiths and existing charities, and cultivate relationships with other faith groups. The projects are planned and run by community groups such as synagogues and schools, with support from Mitzvah Day 365, who link the volunteers with local charities if necessary, and encourage them to continue to work together.

A number of the projects work with homelessness charities, particularly shelters, and with foodbanks; St Mungo’s Broadway and the Trussell Trust are partners, and in 2014 an estimated 150-200 shelters and foodbanks were involved. For ‘Mitzvah Day Shopping’ projects, volunteers at supermarkets encouraged people to buy extra food, while ‘Give away your lunch’ saw people at workplaces donating lunch items. The volunteers themselves then delivered the food to shelters, meeting the staff and, where appropriate, the service users. Other projects have involved local faith representatives gathering to cook together and deliver the food to shelters, and volunteers going into shelters to paint and decorate.

In 2014, 500 community groups were involved in Mitzvah Day, with around 70 of these running Mitzvah Day Shopping projects, 77 running ‘Give away your lunch’, and around 50 working with the Trussell Trust to help local foodbanks. Mitzvah Day 365 collects anecdotal feedback from the local charities helped: for example, a shelter for homeless young people reported that with the support of Mitzvah Day they were able to provide breakfasts, lunches and refreshments for over 250 young people.

For Mitzvah Day 365, the challenge of the work is to facilitate meaningful giving by communities beyond the project day. This is particularly difficult when working in the sensitive area of homelessness, as volunteers cannot always meet the service users and so be motivated by seeing the impact of their efforts on individuals’ lives. However, the organisation works on the basis that people of faith often have a strong sense of duty to help others, and offers them a way to live this out.

www.mitzvahday.org.uk

Muslim Aid

Muslim Aid’s Warm Hearts Winter Campaign centres on the distribution of ‘Keep Warm Kits’ to homeless people via shelters, as well as to vulnerable elderly people. The kits include food, sleeping bags, gloves, socks, hats and other winter essentials. Muslim Aid also runs soup kitchen sessions through mosques and churches, and a programme with schools and mosques to collect food and distribute it to foodbanks. Muslim Aid works nationally, with its main bases in London, Birmingham and Manchester. It focuses on providing for the immediate needs of street homeless
people of all backgrounds, alongside support for their wider circumstances, and is looking to develop this to include more long-term support. Partnership with Shelter allows it to provide access to housing advice, information on foodbanks and emergency hardship funding, so that people do not lose their accommodation for want of a few pounds.

Between December 2014 and mid-January 2015, 560 Keep Warm Kits were distributed to homeless people. The previous winter, 1463 kits went to homeless or elderly people, 1764 homeless people were helped with advice and essential items through the partnership with Shelter, 145 people were given hardship funding and 44 soup kitchen sessions were run. However, the charity perceives the need increasing year on year and is looking to increase the numbers of those helped.

Muslim Aid is also piloting a Prisoners Rehabilitation Project, which will provide mentors from among the Muslim community for prisoners. Muslim prisoners make up almost 30% of male inmates in London, although the scheme is aimed at prisoners from all backgrounds. Mentors are provided for inmates who are soon to be released, to help them access support and avoid them becoming homeless or reoffending.

www.muslimaid.org/what-we-do/uk-programmes/warm-hearts-winter-campaign


Help through the night

CARIS Islington Cold Weather Shelter

CARIS Islington is a charity that coordinates a circuit of night shelters based in churches around the borough during the winter months. In turn, this is part of the network of shelter projects supported by Housing Justice. The shelters aim to support people to fl ourish as human
beings, in conjunction with the clinical and professional support offered by other services.

Most of those using the shelters are rough sleepers. They are treated as guests and provided with an evening meal, time to socialise, a bed and breakfast. Teams of volunteers cook and serve the food, chat with the guests and stay overnight. While the shelters specialise in offering hospitality and pastoral care, they also act as a ‘go between’ with other services and so are able to help guests access additional support, with volunteers accompanying them to access these services if required. At CARIS Islington, other activities have grown out of the work of the shelter. It runs a boxing club for homeless people, which not only provides a safe space to exercise and channel energy and frustrations but, according to staff, has helped its users become more willing to accept help and access services.

The shelters are supported by Housing Justice to collect evidence of their activities, which includes numbers of bed nights provided, numbers of guests case managed, accommodation outcomes and positive moves on, such as starting employment or training. In their time at the CARIS Islington shelter:

  • 30% of guests are linked with appropriate specialist support services, eg drug and alcohol or mental health services, and multiple services for complex needs
  • 25% are linked with other support services, eg asylum and refugee services, other health and wellbeing services, ethnic community support groups, or mentoring and befriending support
  • 10% are linked with professional support to help with their precarious housing circumstances, eg overcrowding, sofa-surfing or threats of eviction or abandonment

The project recognises that the best outcomes are those that are appropriate for the individual – simply taking a shower might represent huge progress for some, while others have made great steps and are now volunteering for the project.

CARIS Islington holds the PQASSO Quality Mark and the Housing Justice Shelter Quality Mark, which benchmarks best practice across the shelter projects network.

www.carisislington.org

Housing Justice is the national voice of Christian action in the field of housing and homelessness, believing that human dignity is challenged by the lack of decent housing. It supports night shelters, drop-ins and practical projects nationwide by providing advice and training for churches and other community groups that work with homeless people. Housing Justice supports churches and other groups to set up, run and develop winter night shelters. There are shelters in 28 London boroughs, and in many other cities in England and Wales. The charity reports that in winter 2013-14, £1.5m worth of volunteer hours were worked in the night shelters it supported in London alone. Across the country, 1,577 guests were offered overnight shelter; 491 of these received some sort of move on accommodation, and 934 received case management support.

www.housingjustice.org.uk

Route 18 Winter Shelter

Route 18 Winter Shelter started in 2008 when the Anglican clergy in South Brent were sharing their experiences of a growing number of homeless people arriving at vicarage doors, and discussing ways to help in an empowering and sustainable way. They approached Cricklewood Homeless Concern (CHC, now called Ashford Place) to work in partnership: the churches offered buildings and volunteers, and CHC their experience and expertise. The resulting initiative was Route 18 winter shelter, so called because in the first two years, all the churches involved were on the number 18 bus route. In the second year, the number of participating churches grew to 11, and by the third year 14 church centres and one mosque were involved. Of the 82 guests who accessed the winter shelter in one year, 60% were helped to find accommodation. Felicity Scroggie, part of leadership team at the project, explains the ‘value added’ by the faith-based ethos of Route 18:

This is not simply a night shelter that feeds people and then sends them back out onto the streets. Nor is it simply a professional charity that addresses complex life problems of many guests. It is an integral partnership between the volunteers who offer themselves and their resources to brothers and sisters who are equally within the love and compassion of God, and the expert staff who are able to help guests address their complex issues and so begin to rebuild their lives. Guests this year affirmed just how life-giving this combination is. As one guest said, ‘I came with nothing and you gave me everything. You didn’t ask for anything in return. I found a family’. The ethos of human dignity, compassion
and friendship is at the core of this project.

www.ashfordplace.org.uk

Depaul Nightstop UK

Depaul Nightstop UK is part of Depaul UK, an organisation based on Catholic roots and working with young people who are homeless, vulnerable and
disadvantaged. Nightstop services are run by various organisations, supported by Depaul, in 40 locations across the UK. They offer a safety net for young people aged 16-25, to prevent them from sleeping rough or in dangerous situations, by placing them with trained volunteer hosts. While Nightstop is not itself faith-based, many of these volunteers are recruited from churches and other faith groups and undertake hosting as a way
of living out their faith.

Nightstop services work proactively with potential referral agencies, such as college welfare teams, youth groups, and homeless drop-ins, as well as local authority housing and leaving care teams, so that should a young person present to them in housing need, they are able to make a referral straight away. The Nightstop service assesses the young person’s support needs and the level of risk they present. Suitable young people are placed with hosts who provide a meal, bedroom, washing facilities and breakfast, as well as the chance to talk or space to refl ect. In the morning the young person returns to the referral agency to work on resolving their situation, and is re-referred for the next night’s accommodation if necessary, usually with different hosts. Most young people move into hostel accommodation after several nights with Nightstop. Nightstop London reports that the average length of stay was 11 nights in 2014, up from seven the previous year. The process of referring young people into accommodation is taking longer as numbers of people ‘in the system’ have risen. Changes to the benefi ts system mean that people might need emergency housing while they are under benefit sanctions and cannot move on until sanctions are lifted, or they might be arrivals from the EU who are not entitled to benefits while they look for private rented accommodation. Meanwhile, the longer young people stay with Nightstop, the fewer beds are available for new referrals. Nightstop London says that it turns away around 30% of young people who come to it, as need outstrips the supply of beds.

When Nightstop can take on young people, it works with housing advice partners and other services to ensure that the young person gets the support they need. In some areas Nightstop services include tenancy support, family mediation, preventative education work, housing advice and supported lodgings (working with a local authority to place the young person with a host for up to two years).

In 2013, Nightstop provided 11,755 bed nights and volunteer hosts gave over 176,000 hours of their time. Young people often report that at a time when they felt excluded by other services and by society, the welcome offered by hosts made a big difference to them. Something as simple as sharing in a family dinner could help them to feel more positive about their future and more able approach other services.

www.depaulnightstopuk.org

On the streets

Street Pastors are volunteer Christians with a concern for their community, who have been trained to care for, listen to and help people in practical ways and provide a reassuring presence as they patrol the streets on weekend nights. As well as providing support for people who are vulnerable because they have had too much to drink or become separated from friends, Street Pastors spend time chatting with and listening to street homeless people. They may refer people to homelessness services or night shelters, or help them to access health services. They have also helped with rough sleeper counts. Street Pastors is an initiative of the Ascension Trust.

www.streetpastors.org

Greenlight is run by Hillsong church in London, and sends a medical van staffed by skilled volunteers onto the streets to offer basic medical care to rough sleepers, alongside advice and signposting.

hillsong.com/london/becausewecan/greenlight

Tackling destitution

NACCOM, The No Accommodation Network, is a group of affiliated organisations working with asylum seekers or migrants with no recourse to public funds. It aims to tackle homelessness among these groups, to reduce barriers to affordable housing for refugees, and to end destitution in the UK. The members of the network, many of which are faith-based, run a number of different accommodation schemes. They include night shelters, hosting schemes offering a spare room in a house, shared houses leased at peppercorn or reduced rents, joint projects with housing associations, and putting empty church buildings back into use. The network supports its members by helping them to share resources and best practice and by encouraging new initiatives and strengthening existing schemes.

naccom.org.uk


A safe space

Elim Connect Centre

The Elim Connect Centre is a community hub in a rural area in the Wells and Mendip district, run by the Elim Church. The hub aims to connect different organisations, agencies and people in order to serve and work with the community. It is a means for developing relationships between people and organisations to make a difference in the community. The centre has two main elements: a hub out of which
different agencies can operate, and the running of services for vulnerable people. The hub element is needed because in this rural area services can be disparate and transport links are poor, meaning that people with chaotic lives might not access services at all; meanwhile, the services have a number of mutual clients. The hub gives agencies a base to work from and clients an increased ability to access them. The services run by the centre are for those who might otherwise ‘slip through the net’, particularly rough sleepers, as well as young people. The centre works with all three tiers of local government and many other agencies, including: three GP surgeries; the mental health, drug and alcohol and public health teams;
Citizens Advice Bureau; Langley House Trust; YMCA; Turning Point; and the police.

The centre’s own services include the Street Level Access Programme (SLAP). This began as a soup kitchen, but is in essence a befriending service for people with multiple and complex needs, recognising that people presenting with homelessness or housing need often have underlying issues. This project runs day services at the centre and at hubs in other towns in the area. It is funded through donations and small grants.
The centre also runs services commissioned by local government, which include outreach workers for rough sleepers, and a health inclusion service commissioned by the public health team. This is for homeless people and rough sleepers, as well as the Traveller community. A health inclusion worker conducts initial health assessments, and GPs and dentists visit the sessions. The good outcomes from these services, such as the
impacts on numbers of rough sleepers, numbers not returning to rough sleeping and numbers referred to medical services, mean that contracts with local government have been renewed in recognition of the value they provide.

www.connect-elim.org.uk

Asylum seekers’ drop-in

A London-based synagogue runs a drop-in centre offering a package of support for asylum seekers. The centre provides a warm welcome, food, clothing, supermarket vouchers and baby equipment, as well as consultations with lawyers, doctors and therapists. If any of its clients
are placed in immigration detention, the centre works with lawyers to try to get them released. Asylum seekers can self-refer or are referred by lawyers or other charities. The centre is proud of the diversity of its volunteers, who come from the synagogue community and from many other
communities: from all the major faiths and none, and from different generations and cultures.

Vineyard Community Centre

Vineyard Community Centre in the London Borough of Richmond offers open-access, drop-in support for homeless people. The centre also operates a community hub, with a foodbank, a coffee bar a variety of activity groups. Run jointly by several churches, the centre is fully independent, with costs covered by voluntary contributions, trust funding and in-kind support from businesses.

The morning drop-in sessions are aimed at people who are homeless or in crisis, but are open to everyone. They provide free tea, coffee and toast, with a cooked breakfast for 50p on some days. People can make use of showers, towels, soap and shaving toiletries; free clothes, shoes, sleeping bags and tents are available when in stock, and haircuts are provided by a local barber once a week. The centre also offers free internet and telephone access, alongside signposting to other services and the opportunity to get to know volunteers from the local community. A caseworker works with
those who come in, using the Outcomes Star™ to measure their progress. The morning drop-in runs Monday to Thursday, and on a typical day is visited by 40 people.

Other agencies also work though the centre: these include statutory homeless services, Richmond’s SPEAR (a charity supporting people to move into
accommodation), drug and alcohol services, Citizens Advice, debt advice services and health services. The centre has links with two local GP practices, which permit centre users to register with them and obtain referrals, and understand that the centre may call on these patients’ behalf. Local health services know that they can call the centre as a means of trying to find out about the whereabouts or wellbeing of the homeless people known to them who are seriously ill. The centre has eight part-time and one full-time staff members, around 40-50 regular volunteers and a similar number ad-hoc volunteers. Around a third of the volunteers are from churches. Volunteers also include former users of the centre – one of the managers was once a rough sleeper – and supported volunteers, who might have mental health needs or be in recovery from other issues, and who are volunteering as a form of therapy. Staff have noticed that it is often seemingly small things that make a big difference and can save lives – for example, the centre manager makes a note of everyone’s birthday and it is celebrated with a cake. What staff at the centre value most is the restoration of a person’s life and hope.

www.vineyardcommunity.org


Solutions for the long term

YMCA

There are 114 YMCAs in England, and YMCA is the largest provider of safe, supported accommodation for young people in the country. The movement is founded on Christian values and focuses on supporting young people to belong, contribute and thrive in their communities. Every year it intensively supports over 228,000 young people, with almost 800,000 hours of volunteer time involved. YMCAs provide nearly 10,000 beds every night, the majority of which are in the form of supported accommodation, but provision ranges from emergency beds and student accommodation to longer-term supported living and move-on housing. Alongside somewhere to live, YMCAs seek to support young people holistically, helping them to gain the training, skills and confidence to go on to lead independent lives.For example, through Supported Lodgings and Nightstop, YMCAs can accommodate vulnerable young people in a Host’s home for anything from a few days to up to two years. The young person becomes a member of the household, receiving the support of the family they live with as well as from YMCA staff. This might cover budgeting, shopping and cooking, claiming benefits, finding work and moving on to their own independent homes. There are 12 YMCAs running the scheme with over 300 Host families involved.

www.ymca.org.uk

The Salvation Army: William Booth Centre

The William Booth Centre in Birmingham provides a programme for homeless people, giving them the ‘first stage’ support of somewhere safe to stay for three months. During this time they go through an intensive assessment process designed to determine the holistic support they need that will give them the skills and help necessary to move into next stage accommodation.

The programme is aimed at anyone aged over 21 who has nowhere to go – most are rough sleepers – and can house 74 people at a time. They are referred through the centralised Birmingham Gateway process and come in for an interview to decide whether they are suitable for the project. If accepted, they are allocated a key worker, and are then assessed and their support planned – covering areas such as tenancy readiness, health, addiction issues, basic skills needs, employment support and involvement with the criminal justice system. Support is provided either in-house or together with other agencies. These come into the centre according to the needs of the residents and also for a regular information fair, and might include Crisis Skylight, sexual health clinics, the Christians Against Poverty debt advice service, housing associations and drug agencies. The centre also provides leisure activities according to the Solutions for the long term interests of the client group, and a spiritual programme, with chaplaincy staff available to meet with clients, worship and prayer services, and discussion groups. After three months the aim is that they are ready to
move on to the next stage in their development, which might be temporary accommodation or somewhere more permanent, but should be a positive move.

Funding comes from the Supporting People programme through the local authority. The outcomes that the project is required to meet include numbers making a positive move-on, health outcomes including GP registration, making sure that clients are receiving all the correct benefi ts and looking for work where appropriate, and a number of outcomes that clients choose from a list that includes managing money, stopping offending and
managing substance abuse.

However, staff also report outcomes such as a visible impact on residents’ lives, through the fact that staff are willing to listen to and spend time with them. One client arrived very resentful of what life had thrown at him and blaming others for his circumstances. After a lot of support from his key worker and chaplaincy staff, there was a turnaround in his attitude: while he still had dark moments, he became more positive and able to relate to others, and that helped him to move on successfully to accommodation.

www.salvationarmy.org.uk/homelessness-section

Caritas Anchor House

Caritas Anchor House is a residential and life skills centre, providing single homeless men and women with the support they need to live independently. Based in the London Borough of Newham, the charity aims to address the root causes of homelessness and create sustainable solutions for those affected. Caritas Anchor House is a member of the Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN), the social action arm of the Catholic
Church in England and Wales.

The work focuses on personalised support, with each resident being given the training and help they need to fulfil their goals. By addressing material, emotional and spiritual needs, and offering life experiences, Caritas Anchor House aims to help residents find meaning and fulfi lment. This sense of purpose, in turn, helps residents to make changes in their lives so that they can participate in society, get a job and live independently.
Caritas Anchor House offers four key services: accommodation and support for the homeless, a local community centre, a therapeutic centre and a rough sleeping assessment hub. The centre has 119 beds and serves over 230 people per year. Residents pay rent for their accommodation if they are employed; otherwise it is paid for via their housing benefit.

Residents are referred to Caritas Anchor House by the local authority, probation services or other homelessness services. On arrival, every resident is assigned a key worker, or ‘Lifestyle Architect’, with whom they complete needs assessments. This helps residents to identify areas in their lives that they need to address through their personal development plan, and includes topics such as health, self-care, social relationships and money
management. During their stay, residents take part in training and other courses designed to develop skills and build confi dence. These include cookery classes, money management courses in partnership with Quaker Social Action, IT training and practical workshops for those looking for employment. A DWP outreach worker holds weekly job clubs. Caritas Anchor House also offers activities to promote physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Each resident is signed up with a GP, there is a weekly nurse’s surgery on site and regular TB screenings are held by an NHS Mobile X-Ray Unit. There are also sports and art classes, as well as relaxation and meditation sessions. To promote healthy mental wellbeing, residents are given the opportunity to attend a retreat focusing on self-refl ection. Statutory services offer support with areas such as mental health, and a specialist complex needs team supports those in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, working in partnership with alcohol and substance misuse agencies. Alcoholics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous meetings are also held on site.

Social and community activities are encouraged and a volunteering time-bank is in place to help residents spend their time constructively and gain valuable employment experience. The ethos of volunteering, combined with a policy of recruiting residents as staff members, means that 20% of the 54 staff are former residents.

The average stay at Caritas Anchor House is 14 months, although this is rising – due, the charity says, to cuts in other services. Residents primarily move on to the private rented sector, but the centre has a good relationship with a number of landlords and has negotiated the use of 10 flats
per year from the local authority.Caritas Anchor House works with a number of partners, including: Business in the Community, which helps arrange
work placements in major companies; Pret-A-Manger, which offers pre-job interview training; Clifford Chance solicitors, which provides professional mentors offering literacy support; FareShare, a charity that redistributes surplus food; and Khulisa, a crime reduction charity that runs a behaviour awareness programme. The centre uses the Outcomes Star™ to measure residents’ progress and collects other impact data. For example, in 2014: 71 residents moved into independent living; 63 residents took up employment; and 80% of residents registered with a GP. A Social Return on Investment exercise, undertaken by Oxford Economics, found that Caritas Anchor House provides a return to society of £3.98 for every £1 invested in
the centre. This primarily comes from cost savings due to lower crime, more employment and hosting Alcoholics Anonymous. The project estimates it has reduced Accident and Emergency admissions among its residents by 75% over four years.

www.caritasanchorhouse.org.uk