West London Churches Homeless Concern (WLCHC)

West London Churches Homeless Concern

To relieve poverty among street homeless people in west London, by providing an effective and resourceful accomodation, advice and support service.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from to

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1083203)

Donations

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    Category

  • Community Support & DevelopmentCommunity Support & Development
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Homeless/RefugeHomeless/Refuge
  • Human Rights/AdvocacyHuman Rights/Advocacy
  • ReligiousReligious

    Helping

Location

Situation

Ten years ago WLCHC was created by a group of 15 churches of different denominations as a response to the rough sleepers who had been approaching individual churches for help. Through conversations with local homeless people, the group also identified the need for a laundry service in the area which opened in September 1998. Our night shelters provided a warm, safe and welcoming space for our guests. We provide London's largest night shelter accomodationg 35 rough sleepers for the coldest months of the year from November to April. For the last three winter seasons, we have employed a full-time, experienced caseworker who has offered our guests advice, advocacy and practical support which includes attending appointments with them. The caseworker helped guests to access work, accommodation, drug and alcohol detox projects, mental health services; register with a GP; set up benefit claims; and obtain identification. This has been a successful and worthwhile addition to our service and improves the lives of many of our guests. With an increasing number of direct access hostels no longer accepting self referrals WLCHC meets the needs of both newly homeless people and long-term rough sleepers. In addition, by allowing our guests to use the service for as long as they need, we have a unique opportunity to build a level of trust that allows us to engage with individuals who, for a variety of reasons, have tried and failed in the past to interact with mainstream services. In common with other homeless organisations, our guests, about 15 per cent of whom are female, come from a variety of backgrounds with a range of personal issues such as addiction problems, being ex-offenders or ex-servicemen . When not accessing our help, they are sleeping rough in the area. Our are predominantly British, though the past few seasons has seen a rise in those coming from the most recent EC member states, many of whom are not entitled Job Seeker’s Allowance or housing benefit, and has therefore increased the demand for services provided by homeless charities. We receive no statutory funding and rely on the generous support of trusts, individuals, companies and the churches involved with WLCHC. The nature of our work means that we do not apply for statutory sector support. In addition to the fact that our guests, being predominately single men, are not seen as a priority amongst street homeless people, our policy of enabling people to access our services without providing us with their names and other information, something that would be required by projects funded by the statutory sector, means that we are able to support the most vulnerable and long-term rough sleepers, many of whom are wary of contact with the authorities. Our running costs rise every year and it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach our fundraising targets (this years target has increased to £215,000). If we were able to attract a greater number of large grants this would enable the Senior Project Manager to spend less time fundraising and more time on managing and expanding the provision of our services.

Solution