A BRIEF UPDATE
The past 15 months of the pandemic have brought about many changes and we are no exception to this trend at LDHAS. Prior to the first lockdown, we operated an open-door policy which meant that we could have 15 or more clients in the building at any one time. Since the arrival of Covid 19, we have kept the gates locked during our opening hours and admit a maximum of four people at a time. A positive, and unintended consequence of limiting numbers in this way, is that the homeless and vulnerable housed people who attend at the Centre can benefit from more staff time spent addressing their individual needs.
The government’s ‘Everyone In’ initiative meant that local authorities throughout the country received funding to provide temporary emergency accommodation for the street homeless and vulnerably housed people in the area during lockdown. This all happened very quickly and efficiently and was, undoubtedly, of great benefit to those who would otherwise have been sleeping rough or ‘sofa surfing’. However, some of the newly accommodated people found adjusting to their new circumstances very challenging and, for various reasons, found their way back onto the streets and these tended to be the ones with more complex needs. This trend is borne out in our attendance figures which shows a reduced footfall, but those fewer people attend more often at the Centre and present with a higher level of need.
As the Covid restrictions have gradually eased, we have welcomed back a variety of external agencies to the Centre to form a ‘homeless hub’ for our client group. Floating Support workers from Calico attend most days as does the Acorn ‘Navigator’ all of whom are dedicated to helping people sustain their tenancies and to support the newly accommodated. CAB attend weekly to provide advice and support, and we also receive visits from The Hepatitis C Trust, Red Rose Recovery (a lived experience charity) and Inspire (drug and alcohol) services. All of whom provide an invaluable service for our clients.
For our part at LDHAS, as always, we continue to provide a range of services: casework support; laundry and shower facilities; breakfast and lunch; use of telephone and computer; care of address; signposting to our partner agencies and so on. But, above all we provide a safe space for vulnerable people at a time of crisis; a place where they will be treated with respect and provided with appropriate support according to need.
Covid has not yet run its full course, but whatever the future brings the staff and our volunteers (who provide an invaluable service), together with our partner agencies, will always provide a safety net for those in the greatest need.
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