Action Homeless is a Leicestershire based charity supporting people and families with accommodation and the skills to gain independent living. It has recently opened The Hub in Hinckley to provide locally based support for people requiring housing or financial advice.
The Hub, which opened in June 2017 is available on Thursdays from 11 am to 3 pm and enables Action Homeless residents and the wider community to access support without having to travel in to Leicester where the charity is based.
People can use the computers to "Bid" for Council properties, (these become available every Thursday) and carry out job searches. There has only been low level marketing for the Hub, but there has been a steady increase in people attending with now up to 27 attending on a monthly basis. John, the Action Homeless Housing Officer, meets people as they arrive and assesses their needs to ensure that they meet the criteria for support
Initially people would need to book an appointment to attend, but this system didn't meet the needs of the clients so John now runs it as drop in. It can get really busy so if anyone needs one to one support John will arrange to meet them after hours or make use of the house next door which is one of Action Homeless supported accommodation houses.
Action Homeless is also a member of Reaching People, a consortium of voluntary and community sector organisations delivering "Moneywise Plus" which aims to improve the digital and financial skills of individuals to support them in moving towards employment, education, training as well as obtaining and managing their own accommodation.
The Hub is already having really positive outcomes for its clients. Two have successfully bid on council properties and will be moving into their own accommodation this year, as a result of attending the drop in one hasn't felt the need to take their medication for depression for 3 months and another, who loves driving, has a potential job opportunity with a local taxi company as a result of a new friendship.
All the clients see John as a friend and not just a Housing Support Officer. John himself was a refugee from Uganda and was supported by Action Homeless. He says "the love and support he received from Action Homeless was truly special" and he is one of the lucky ones. He gets so much from giving that same care and support to others.
The SHIRE Community Grant awarded just over £7,500 to renovate the disused building to create the Hub as well as providing resources and IT equipment.