After almost 25 successful years of running a “roving” shelter where people stay in a different venue each night, the charity, Hackney Doorways recently made the decision to adapt its model to one that is better able to meet the needs of those who stay in the night shelters and offer more tailored support for individuals through its advocate workers.
As the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in all communal night shelters having to remain closed, the Charity is now going to accelerate its plans and secure a property that can be made covid-safe for “guests”, volunteers and staff.
Hackney Doorways’ new strategic plan set out its aim to move to a permanent year-round shelter. As a result of coronavirus, this plan has been brought forward and the Charity is now looking for a building from which to operate the night shelter all year round. Ideally each person will have their own room or will stay in a much smaller shared space, with adequate facilities to be able to self-isolate if necessary.
The Charity’s unique women’s shelter has been operating for the past 12 months, based in a large house in Hackney. Initially run as a pilot project, it has achieved great success with the women, improving their health and wellbeing as well as securing more stable move-on housing for many of them to transition out of homelessness. The project was part funded by the London Mayor’s Rough Sleeping Innovation Fund.
During the "Lockdown" the women’s shelter was able to remain open 24 hours a day and keep five women safe, with the support of staff and a greatly reduced team of volunteers. The women’s shelter is due to return to more normal operation shortly and the charity is seeking funding to ensure that this specialist women’s provision can continue beyond its initial pilot year.
The Charity’s Director, Christina Ball, said:
“One of Hackney Winter Night Shelter’s greatest strengths has always been the involvement of the community and the Charity will continue to work with its large network of churches, faith organisations, schools and community groups to realise our ambition much more quickly than we had originally planned. We will also work alongside our volunteers to make sure that our new venture is safe and welcoming for those who need our help, both now and in the future. We look forward to continuing to work with the people of Hackney so that future guests will experience the same kindness, generosity and hospitality for which Hackney Winter Night Shelter is renowned.”
These are uncertain times for everyone, and it is a pivotal time for us, but as a Charity we want to make sure that we can continue to help those who are often at their most vulnerable.”
If you have an empty property that you think would be suitable for up to 15 people or a large house with 4-5 bedrooms that could accommodate 7 or 8 people, please contact Ruth Best, Shelter Manager: [email protected]