Night Shelter Success

Night Shelter Success

Night Shelter Success

It was towards the end of last year that we began exploring the possibility of opening a temporary night shelter at Queensgrove Methodist Church. It was through the concerted efforts of Rev’d David Spiers, the wider church community, West Northamptonshire Council and NAASH, that the project finally became a reality. Over the last three months the shelter has supported 46 individuals and through the stability it has given to residents, we have been able to move 14 individuals into accommodation and off the streets.

If you recall back to the end of December we were facing freezing weather and the prospect of a very unsettled winter. It was a time when we were concerned that the bitter cold would threaten the safety of rough sleepers. It’s heartbreaking to support vulnerable rough-sleepers during the day and know that when the weather is the coldest and the most challenging, the best we can do is make sure people have the benefits of a warm meal and dry clothing to keep them safe.

The offer of the space at Queensgrove Methodist Church has been a linchpin to the success of the night shelter initiative. With separate spaces inside for male and female residents, an entry and exit point that minimises local impact, and support from the local church community, the venue has proven ideal.



Partnership Working

With rising numbers of homeless not just locally but nationally, the success of the shelter demonstrates how partnership working to provide immediate shelter for rough sleepers to meet individual needs is an effective policy in managing the rising and long-term problems posed by homelessness. The causes of homelessness are complex and varied and fixing many of these problems in the short term isn’t often possible. What can be done however, is to work in partnership, as we have done here with West Northamptonshire Council, Northampton Association for Accommodation for Single Homeless (NAASH) to support people, understand their needs and find safe and warm accommodation as quickly as possible.

Have a listen to Adam, one of our shelter residents, describing how the shelter works and how it has supported him:


Safety and Security

It has been a surprisingly warm but wet start to the year, we have thankfully been less fearful of deaths on the streets these past two months. We have however been overwhelmed by the responses from the users of our night shelter, and the impact it has had on their wellbeing and their success in finding secure accommodation. ‘Feeling safe’ has been one of the most cited benefits of the shelter on the people who have used it.

Being safe from harm when we go to sleep is something we all take for granted. The fear of being attacked, having personal items stolen, or being urinated on are all experiences that people using our shelter have shared with us. Everyone we spoken to have said that feeling safe and being able to sleep without having to have ‘one eye open’ has been one of the most impactful benefits of the shelter, something we all take for granted but so important in enabling us to function during the day.

Listen to Sandra describe her experiences rough-sleeping and the impact the night shelter has had on her ability to sleep:

We all take for granted our freedom to go to bed when we want to, something we had not previously considered is the fact that town centres quieten down very late at night and wakes up early. Rough-sleepers have to wait for the town to sleep before feeling safe enough to settle and they will often be woken in the small hours of the morning as cleaners turn shop lights on and the town prepares for the day ahead. The night shelter not only provides warmth, but gives people a good and safe, long nights sleep, something that we all take for granted.


Meeting Needs

Having a bad night sleep has a detrimental impact on mental health and our ability to function during the day. Rough sleepers find it hard to keep appointments, find employment and manage personal health and wellbeing. The greatest benefits for our charity has been the ability for us to fast track people in partnership with NAASH and West Northamptonshire Council into secure and safe accommodation. Giving people the safety, security and consistency of the overnight shelter has meant we find it easier to coordinate the support they need to move them into secure accommodation. Studies show overwhelming evidence that giving secure and safe housing helps people resolve or improve their non-housing problems and issues they face, and it is this that helps people find and sustain permanent accommodation. This evidence far exceeds that of any other intervention when it comes to providing a solution to homelessness. (source Crisis)

Pete was one of the first individuals to use our night shelter and he is now safely sleeping off the streets in secure accommodation. Watch the video to listen to his story and experience at the night shelter. Having a good night sleep made it easier for him to get to work the next day, it also helped us find him safe accommodation quicker and more effectively.

One of our goals in our anniversary year is to have a permanent night shelter. To support the growing number of people facing homelessness through initiatives such as our temporary night shelter relies heavily on public financial support. Please help us continue the work we do by donating using the link below.


How to Get Help

If you or someone you know is rough-sleeping, please register for support at HandUp at Oasis House.

Hope Centre,
Oasis House,
35 Campbell Street,
Northampton
NN1 3DS

Visit the Homeless page on this website for daily opening times.

For information about any of our services, contact: Office@northamptonhopecentre.org.uk

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