A BRIEF UPDATE
2022 is proving to be a landmark year for LDHAS; not only do we celebrate the 20th anniversary of being a registered charity, but we have recently purchased a new building. For many years, we have operated from a large portacabin located on a car park in Edward Street. It has served us well over the years but is now showing its age. The new building is ideally located – just a couple of minutes’ walk away from the City Centre and will have all the facilities we need to meet the needs of street homeless and vulnerably housed people such as a kitchen, shower, laundry facilities, clothing, use of computer and phone, plus the casework provided by staff to help clients negotiate the bureaucratic system, give emotional support and guidance and to refer onto other agencies.
Our new address will be 2 Aalborg Place but it will be a while before we move as we need to raise funds for, and install, a kitchen, showers, laundry facilities and stair lift. It is likely to be early 2023 before we move; the new building is in pristine condition, but we need to ensure that we can replicate our current services before we move to ensure that all our facilities are available from the outset. Our current site is scheduled for redevelopment as part of the planned Canal Quarter, so we would have had to have moved eventually. Next year will be our 21st as a charity and appropriate that we will be opening the doors of our new base and beginning a new chapter in the history of LDHAS.
Our goal is to support homeless people into good quality accommodation as soon as possible with the support of a host of other organisations which work out of the LDHAS building - Calico; Acorn; Citizens Advice; Red Rose Recovery; The Well; Changing Futures; Inspire; Hepatitis C Trust; PCSOs; Social Services: Probation; Community Mental Health Team and accommodation providers. We work together to provide a ‘one stop shop’ all under one roof for homeless people which has been dubbed ‘The Homeless Hub’. This way of working means that fewer appointments are missed and that people in a crisis and in need of urgent help are not kept waiting to receive the assistance they require.
Despite the recent upsurge in infections, we feel that we are now operating in the ‘post-covid era’. Covid has brought about a number of changes, not least which is the sad death of people who were on our books. To date, 22 have died; none from covid but predominantly from overdose. We are also beginning feel the effects of the current economic situation with a growing number of enquiries from people new to homelessness and those concerned about becoming homeless. During the pandemic, research has revealed that there has been a general decline in mental health in the wider community, an increase in the use of alcohol and drugs, and an increase in relationship breakdown; all significant factors which can lead to homelessness.
The project was set up in 1987 by a group of local churches who were all providing a service for local people in housing poverty. The Homeless Action Service was built in 1992 with a considerable amount of incredible support from local people and churches. We became a registered charity in 1992 and a limited company by guarantee in 1999.
We are a day centre based in Edward Street in Lancaster, providing housing advice to the street homeless and those in housing poverty.
Our clients are ordinary people whose circumstances have altered their way of life, people who have been in care, suffered a relationship breakdown, have addictions, come out of the services, or come out of prison.
The Lancaster & District Homeless Action Service seeks to provide and improve services for those who are homeless or have housing related needs by the following means:
Aims and Objectives