Churches Housing Aid Society

Housing Advice Service

To provide a housing advice service to vulnerable people for the next three years. The project will provide a free, independent & confidential telephone advice service, supported by appointments & home visits with follow-up case work, advocacy and support.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (233757)

Donations

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    Categories

  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Homeless/RefugeHomeless/Refuge
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy

    Helping

  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)
  • OtherOther

Location

Situation

The principal aim of our service is to prevent homelessness and resolve housing problems so that people can move forward in other areas of their lives. A secondary aim is to assist agencies that work with vulnerable people so that they can provide more effective support. There is a common perception that help with housing-related problems can be obtained from local government departments. However, what CHAS (Bristol) provides is impartial and independent advice and support for those people who are unable to understand or find their way through the complexity of the housing system, and successfully intervenes in cases where individuals have been actually misadvised or misled on the right course of action. The work we do is not glamorous and does not have the high public profile of many charities. However, it is vital to the well-being and stability of a whole range of vulnerable, low-income groups. Although CHAS (Bristol) provides quality legal advice, we are different from most advice agencies and solicitors in providing both legal advice and ongoing support, which legal aid funded services are unable to do. “Housing Aid” encompasses advice and practical support and both are essential elements of our service. As many of our clients are vulnerable they are often unable to understand or act on advice given. We often need to assist clients to complete housing forms, benefit applications, financial forms and other letters. We also accompany clients to important meetings e.g. with the council, Housing Associations, private landlords, solicitors, court hearings etc. Where legal remedies are exhausted we then help our clients to identify the practical options available to them and empower them to take action. Where other support is needed we will refer to specialist agencies, e.g. Age Concern, Bristol Mind etc. Our work involves a lot of “hand-holding” and this is essential to help vulnerable people resolve their housing problems, which can often take many months, sometimes years. Many people who contact CHAS Bristol have little or no support and feel they have no-one to turn to in a time of crisis. In the case of refugees, or women fleeing domestic violence, to give just two examples, CHAS (Bristol) helps by guiding them through the unfamiliar housing and social welfare system and linking people into services that can meet their specific needs. We provide a lot of “hand holding” and ongoing support so that people can find a stable and safe base from which they can move forward in their lives. With a stable home people can then go on to find education, training and work or bring up a family and find school for their children, thereby helping people to integrate into the local community. Stable housing is an equally important factor in the development of individuals from other vulnerable groups, such as people with physical and mental health problems. Over three years we need to raise £126 000 to provide advice & support to vulnerable people. We have successfully raised about £70 500 from a variety of charitable trusts and fundraising events. We now need to find a further £55 500 to maintain our service to those in need.

Solution