While the latest figures reveal that homelessness continues to rise across the UK, here at Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre (CHAC) is celebrating a successful year helping vulnerable people with housing issues across the town.
For the past 30 years, as an independent charity we have provided free advice and support to members of the community, in particular those with drug, alcohol or mental health issues, who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless; resolving housing issues and improving lives.
Nationally, there are reported to be 280,000 people recorded as homeless, although the actual figure could be much higher, given that a lot of homelessness goes undocumented. This has prompted charities across the country to urge the government to take action to address the lack of social housing.
Having helped thousands of people and families over the past three decades, with matters relating to housing, benefits and money skills, Cheltenham Housing Aid Centre is happy to share the numbers around how we have helped clients over the past year:
• 170 have improved knowledge and skills related to housing through its service provision.
• 55 have seen an improvement in their housing situation.
• 42 have found suitable long-term or short-term supported housing solutions.
• 20 have better furnished and equipped living situations.
• 17 have received support in raising a required deposit and are now in suitable accommodation, released from the threat of homelessness.
• 13 have improved life skills to help their transition from supported accommodation to independent living.
• 6 are better able to sustain their current housing arrangement.
Mary Apperly, Housing Advice Worker, said: “While we had a successful year in terms of the number of people we supported, and ways we helped them improve their knowledge, skills and confidence in tackling housing issues, the rising number of homeless and those at risk of homelessness around the country just proves how important it is we continue.”
“We fully support Cheltenham Borough Council with its Housing, Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy,which highlights some of the issues our clients face, namely drug and alcohol misuse, and mental health. These can be a part of a person’s spiral into homelessness and that is why we created the Doorway and Neptune Projects; to help those vulnerable people specifically.”
Based on Prestbury Road, CHAC, currently operates two main projects that help anyone who is homeless, in supported housing, staying with friends or family, in a council housing association or privately-rented property.
The first, the Doorway Project, supports adults with current or historic drug or alcohol issues who are looking to live in Cheltenham. The Neptune Project, meanwhile, provides housing advice, support and advocacy to specifically adults with mental health issues.
Help can take the form of finding somewhere for a client to live, preventing the loss of their home or supporting them in a new property, such as funding furniture and other essential household items.
The charity relies on fundraising and private donations to carry out its work and its committed team is made up of paid staff, volunteers and fully qualified advisers.
For more information, and to make a donation, please call 01242 226672.