“The pandemic flagged the need for emergency homelessness accommodation now more than ever. It made us realise there needs to be something fit-for-purpose to fill this gap,” explains Alex Laing of charity Oasis Community Housing, which is opening of a unique homelessness ‘shelter’ in Gateshead.
More than 37,000 people who had been rough sleeping or at risk of homelessness were moved into hotels and B&Bs last summer due COVID-19. With hotels often miles from town centres and rooms only equipped with a kettle, people struggled to access affordable food and day-to-day support.
Latest figures show that almost a third (11,263) are still in hotels, waiting for more suitable accommodation to become available.
Alex Laing led Oasis Community Housing’s part in Everyone In, as one of many homelessness charities across the country that delivered the Government initiative. She said: “Giving people a roof overhead doesn’t fix homelessness.
“Sometimes people won’t know how to cook or wash their clothes let alone set up bills. We’d rather take four hours showing them how to do this than offer a sticking plaster and do it for them.
“Our staff will offer round-the-clock support right the way through to people moving into their own home.
“We may be the most secure relationship a lot of people have in their lives, so we want to ensure we’re delivering the support people really need to live confidently and independently in their own home, when the time comes.”
A PERSON-CENTRED PLACE TO STAY
The charity’s six-bed accommodation will have two 24/7 staff has been developed as a psychologically informed environment (PIE), an approach to supporting people out of homelessness, particularly those who have experienced complex trauma. Each resident will have a robust support plan with support services coordinated around them.
The new homelessness shelter can be accessed through Gateshead Council’s housing service or via Oasis Community Housing’s Basis drop-in centres at Warwick Street, Gateshead, and Park Road Church in Sunderland.
For more information, get in touch with Oasis Community Housing.