Our residents always describe our hostels as homely, but we’re aware that many young people in London have nowhere to call home. Without this foundation in life, they’re held back from achieving their potential and living life to the full.
In partnership with some great London-based organisations we’re helping to ensure that more vulnerable young people have a safe place to live. The organisations we work with don’t simply provide a roof and a bed, they tackle the underlying causes of homelessness and ensure that young men and women get the right foundations, support and encouragement to realise their potential.
Each year Safer London helps around 5,000 young people who have been affected by violence and crime. Through mentoring, workshops and practical help the organisation empowers young people to move away from violent lifestyles.
An important part of Safer London’s work is with the London Gang Exit service, a pan-London initiative that helps young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are either involved in or affected by gangs.
As part of the service, young people who want to escape the threat of a gang are helped to relocate with the support of local authority housing departments and G15 Housing Association.
Shanice was offered the housing relocation option after experiencing sexual exploitation, blackmail and witnessing violent crime. She was threatened, followed and terrified for her life. With the help of the London Gang Exit service, Shanice was moved to a safe location were a Support Worker was on hand to support her emotionally and provide very practical assistance to find a permanent home.
“There are so many other girls like me all over London, putting their lives at risk every single day through their involvement with gangs,” says Shanice. “They need to understand they are not alone and, like me, can get help and have a better future.”
Around 300 young people every year are supported by London Gang Exit. Funding provided by LHA has been used to buy white goods, furnishings and bedding for young people who are moving out of danger and into their own, safe accommodation.
“We at Safer London are extremely grateful to be working with LHA who understand the complex challenges that young people have to navigate to improve their circumstances and are willing to support them, through us, and the work we undertake, to help achieve their aims and goals.” says Desmond Edward, Specialist Resettlement and ETE Practitioner.
Albert Kennedy Trust
LHA have supported The Albert Kennedy Trust’s Purple Door housing project since 2015.
The service provides emergency accommodation for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are homeless, at risk of homelessness or living in a hostile environment. LHA’s funding of two rooms in the house has enabled us to provide a safe and welcoming place to stay for young people who have been rejected from their families. LHA have also supported our Rainbow Starter packs, providing rent deposits and additional costs associated with moving into independent accommodation. Often our young people have no family they can turn to in times of crisis and we have been able to offer financial support with LHA’s help, as well as lifeskills to provide young people with the skills they need to live independently and be unafraid of being who they are. The long-term funding has also helped us to attract funding from other sources, which is vital as AKT does not receive any statutory funding for Purple Door. This year we have also delivered training to LHA’s managers across their services to ensure that their services are welcoming and supporting of LGBT people visiting their hostels across London.
AKT and LHA’s relationship has continued to grow throughout the year and we look forward to this continuing in 2018.
We are very grateful for the funding we received from LHA London in February 2017. We were able to put this funding towards the welfare support that we offer to all guests who access our shelter. This support is provided by the Project Manager and the Welfare Manager.
We run our shelter from November – March, which provides emergency accommodation for more than 80 homeless people. Last year we offered 1,990 bed spaces and served more than 4,000 meals to people from 33 different nationalities and with a wide range of support needs.
The shelter is a community-based project that operates across 13 venues and involves more than 700 local volunteers who are crucial in supporting our 4 staff who work with each guest to help them find appropriate accommodation that best suits their needs. The C4WS staff also support guests’ welfare requirements which might include – amongst many factors – assistance with physical and mental wellbeing, benefits, literacy, asylum and immigration issues.
Last year 92% of those guests that engaged with our services were moved into accommodation.
New Horizon Youth Centre – Supporting homeless young people into PRS accommodation.
Emma (20) first accessed New Horizon Youth Centre in August 2017. She had been homeless and sofa surfing for 5 months with no stable, permanent accommodation. She was a new mum who is working closely with social workers on a care plan to help her regain custody of her child, and to get support around motherhood. Part of Emma’s care plan was to find her suitable and safe accommodation so that she could become independent and have stable housing to focus on other areas in her life. However her local authority had not duty to help her with that.
With this in mind Emma sat down with one of the Advice Workers at New Horizon Youth Centre to explore the possibilities. She had been working fulltime without any problem for many months, and managed to budget her earnings, but didn’t have enough money to get the secure and appropriate accommodation she needed.
For this reason, the Advice Worker arranged an appointment with our private rented sector (PRS) worker. After assessment, having checked her ability to budget, and getting positive feedback about from Emma’s employer, we agreed to support here into private rented shared accommodation through our rent deposit scheme. The scheme helps homeless young people who don’t have a deposit needed to rent form a private landlord. As New Horizon Youth Centre had some long-standing professional relationships with landlords, we were able to source Emma a room quickly and provide the deposit.
The day she moved in, we supported Emma to set up rent payments and attain a grant for household goods to help her settle in to her new accommodation. She has been receiving ongoing floating support for our PRS Worker to make sure everything is going well, and has begun to access counselling from the counsellor at the centre.
Emma is slowly starting to rebuild her life and live independently, and well on track with her care plan. She has contact with her child and her relationship with her family is really improving. She continues to enjoy her work and is looking at potentially going back to college.
Based in the heart of Westminster, The Cardinal Hume Centre helps individuals and families overcome poverty and the threat of homelessness. The charity runs a range of specialist services, including safe accommodation with round-the-clock support for 32 homeless young people. The Cardinal Hume Centre was delighted in 2017 to receive funding from LHA to replace six old-fashioned hobs and ovens in their young person’s residence with modern induction hobs and more efficient ovens.
Having modern and easy to use cooking facilities has encouraged the 16-24 year olds living at the Centre to cook, spend more time in the kitchen and make valuable new friendships.
The new equipment has also been a huge boost, according to Life Skills coordinator, Gaia Segal, who runs cooking sessions twice a week in the first floor kitchen (pictured). This valuable activity not only gives young people the opportunity to learn essential culinary skills, but also allows them to socialise over a meal with their fellow residents, and feel a sense of belonging. Seeing our residents develop their cooking skills with the new equipment has been a highlight for Gaia.
Gaia said: “A large part of our work is about helping our young residents learn the skills they need to live independently. Our upgraded equipment makes it so much easier, and far more enjoyable for the young people living here to prepare healthy and tasty food from scratch. It’s great when we all sit down and eat together – there’s a real sense of community. We’ve one young boy who has attended every session and now dreams of becoming a chef! Thank you LHA for your invaluable donation.”
LHA London works in partnership with the K&C Foundation which raises resources to help address issues in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Through this partnership LHA London made a grant of £21,108 to Glass Door Homeless Charity in 2016. Glass Door partners with churches in London to provide shelter and support to people experiencing homelessness. The grant from LHA London enabled 84 homeless men and women aged 18-34 years to have somewhere warm, dry and safe to sleep during the winter months. Guests also receive a hot supper and breakfast in the morning which is cooked and served by volunteers. These free services are a life-line to those who would otherwise be sleeping on the street.
St Mary le bow
The LHA grant paid the rent on the flats we have had from the Peabody Trust since we started this work in 1990.
The essence of the charity is to give young homeless people and young ex offenders their own room in shared flats, so they learn how to live in a flat and have every help with training towards a job and stable independence in their own flats.
This happens, particularly through an Apprenticeship Scheme we started with Pret a Manger ten years ago. Our and other young people have three months trial at Pret and if they behave, they are taken on permanently. This has been an unprecedented success in the employment of young homeless people in the country, in that 80% have got through the first three months and 60% are there after six months up to five years.
The generous LHA grant covers all the rent of these flats.
South London Spires Centre
LHA London are proud to support the South London Spires Centre rough sleepers initiative.
This year Spire Centre joined a growing number of charities, supporting homelessness and accommodation initiatives in central London, to receive a grant from the LHA Fund.
LHA London are proud to support the 240Project which provides social support for isolated people.
In 2018, this project received a grant from the LHA Fund. 240Project is an Arts and Health Activity Centre for people affected by homelessness and exclusion. The project is based in West London and provides social support for isolated people. They run a wide range of creative arts groups and health-improving activities such as Cooking for Independent Living, Budgeting, Tenant Relations, and Working through Debt.
They help people see themselves in a different light, so they will be able to approach the issues they face with more confidence. 240Project encourage people to try new experiences and build habits that will improve their quality of life.
Check out one of their projects in the video below.