“The Hub really can be life-changing. I have had people say to me that they don’t know what they would have done without it. They say they probably would have been on a park bench.”
In November we re-opened our Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub. Operating out of our Palmer House service, it is designed to respond rapidly to the housing needs of people facing homelessness in Croydon. It has ten rooms available on site, and another three located off-site in local hotels. If there is space, and somebody is referred to us, we can be ready to accommodate them within hours.
Nicole, who manages the Hub, explained why this speed is so vital:
“Even if someone is picked up by outreach teams or referred to the council, it may still be days or weeks until suitable accommodation can be found for them. In that time they could still be living on the streets.
Rough sleeping is dangerous, it is traumatic and it can increase the risk that people fall into harmful behaviors like substance abuse. It also makes it harder for organisations to contact people, because they might be on the move or not have a phone. The Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub is secure, comfortable, and it allows us to work more effectively with people who face the immediate risk of homelessness. Because of that, it lowers the risk that they will fall into damaging and entrenched behaviors.”
People are referred to the Hub by Croydon Council, after they are picked up by outreach teams. We are then sent their details and they travel over to us. We conduct an initial assessment to see what support they need, and they are then shown around. They can stay for up to 28 days, in which time our team works with them to identify the most suitable next steps. In this way they Hub doubles up as a place to assess people and somewhere for them to stay. We bridge the gap that can occur between someone becoming homeless, and appropriate long-term accommodation being available.
“Often while people are being assessed their immediate problems can remain unsolved” says Nicole, “With the Hub they can come in, get a good nights sleep, have a shower and get the basics sorted while we sort out how best to support them.
People might lose their home for all sorts of reasons. They might have been evicted unexpectedly, experienced a family breakdown or lost their job and the housing that went along with it. Whatever it is, the Hub is a way to help immediately.”
Read more about the Somewhere Safe to Stay Hub here.