No.3, Elizabeth House and The Foyer – three of Oasis Community Housing’s key projects – are celebrating 70 collective years of supporting young mums facing homelessness, and homeless young people.
“What a year it’s been, but what an achievement for our projects!” says Jen Gauden-Hand, who joined the charity almost 20 years ago as a support worker at the Foyer and is now the charity’s Director of Housing. “No.3 opened 30 years ago and The Foyer and Elizabeth House both 20 years ago this year.”
Located across Gateshead and south London, the projects provide supported accommodation and holistic support for 16 to 25 year olds. Over the years, the projects – three of Oasis Community Housing’s 17 projects across the UK – have built a network of support around approximately 1,250 young people, helping to tackle the root cause of their homelessness as well as encouraging that individual’s full potential.
Jen continues: “All of our projects deliver unique support to the young people we welcome through the doors each year, but more than anything we aim to provide a safe place that they can call home.”
30 years of No.3
No.3 in Peckham, south London, was Oasis’ first housing project – founded by Baptist minister Steve Chalke MBE as support for homeless young people, on their journey to independent living, it became the cornerstone for the Oasis Charitable Trust
This year, when Selma was kicked out of home by her father, she didn’t know where to turn.
“For me, I felt I was better off being dead than having to deal with the situation,” she said. And then she found No.3.
Hear Selma share her story in our 2020 Giving a Home video (scroll to 2:45 minutes) >
20 years of Elizabeth House
Based in Gateshead, Elizabeth House was set up by the charity Aquila Way, which merged with Oasis in 2014. Its nine bedrooms provide 24-hour supported accommodation for vulnerable young women who have become pregnant or who have children.
Leah was 16 when she fell pregnant: “It was terrifying. My mum has bipolar disorder and, as her health went downhill, I ended up sofa surfing. I had nowhere else to go.” So, Leah came to Elizabeth House.
20 years of The Foyer
Based in Croydon, south London, The Foyer provides accommodation and training for young people aged 16-25 who have become homeless. There we provide a home, a place to belong, and network of support to help the homeless young people who are living with us achieve their full potential.
Jen Gauden-Hand, Oasis Community Housing’s Director of Housing, said: “I was speaking to an ex resident of The Foyer last week, who came to us as a teenager and now she is a business owner and mum of two.
“Every time she drives past The Foyer she tells her boys that ‘Mummy used to live there’. That she is able to look back so positively on what was an extremely difficult time in her life and speak so fondly about the place that did become her home is testament to what we do at Oasis Community Housing.”
Read more former Foyer residents’ stories >