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Great sadness at The Foyer homeless project closure

In June, homeless charity Oasis Community Housing will see the closure of its Croydon project, The Foyer. For 21 years The Foyer has provided accommodation, training and opportunities for young people aged 16 – 25 who have become homeless.

Oasis Community Housing’s Director of Housing, Jen Gauden-Hand, started working at The Foyer as a support worker 19 years ago. Jen said, “It is with great sadness that we are having to close The Foyer, which has been a home and a place of opportunity for more than 500 young people over the past 21 years. It has been a pleasure being part of their journey.

“Now, our top priority is ensuring our residents have suitable safe accommodation to move on into. Our staff are continuing to give so much of themselves to achieve all we can for the young people we work with.

“We’d also like to thank the local churches and individuals who were instrumental in establishing The Foyer two decades ago and who have continued to support us.

“While the charity grows its work in other areas, in Croydon our existing contract to provide youth services has come to an end alongside The Foyer building being sold. We are working closely with the Council and building-owners Clarion to provide a smooth transition for all concerned, especially the young people whose home this has been.”

It was Baptist minister and founder of Oasis, Rev. Steve Chalke MBE, who began working with a group of churches in his hometown of Croydon, in partnership with Croydon Council, to establish The Foyer in the late 1990s.

Opening in 2000, The Foyer is accredited through The Foyer Federation and provides housing, training and support for young people on their journey from homelessness to independent living.

Commenting on The Foyer closure, Steve Chalke said, “The Foyer’s closure is very sad news, especially at this moment when, in the wake of the pandemic so many young people find themselves in such an exposed and vulnerable situation. I am, however, incredibly proud of all that has been achieved there.

“In 2000, at the turn of the millennium, we set out with a vision to support young people on their journey from homelessness to independent living and, over the past 21 years, we have had the privilege of doing just that for more than 500 who have called The Foyer home.

“The provision of home – rather than just housing – for young vulnerable people has always been, and will continue to be a central priority for us across the Oasis Charitable Trust.

Jen Gauden-Hand added, “We will continue looking for opportunities to collaborate with Croydon Council, as an approved supplier, and remain committed to supporting young people facing homelessness in the area – as across the rest of the UK.”

There will be an event to mark the closure of The Foyer this summer. Those who have known The Foyer – residents, staff, partners, supporters – and would like to join the reflections and share successes are invited to contact info@oasiscommunityhousing.org