February Update

2023 was as ever a very busy time at St Paul’s with our Hostel pretty much at capacity throughout the year. This looks set to continue as we see more and more people becoming homeless.

2024 will see a General Election at some point. Whoever the Government is Homelessness is not going to go away yet. There was a commitment to end rough sleeping by the next General Election which looks very unlikely to be achieved.

The two things that can help end homelessness is more decent affordable housing and more support for vulnerable people that find themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness.

We are at capacity and building more Hostels is not the solution. One way and something we are heavily involved in is the Housing First approach. This sees us taking vulnerable single people and putting them in their own flat with 24/7 support.

The results have been encouraging with the majority of people staying in their flats and improving their wellbeing.

It is worth noting that many of the people in Housing First have trauma related issues which manifests as mental health problems and addiction. Addiction especially can lead to coming into contact with the Police, the Courts, Hospitals and so on. Housing First we feel takes the pressure off those already pushed public services.

Housing First is at risk of losing its funding in the County. We are doing our best to raise funds privately. To help please do get in touch as the service and indeed everything we do at St Paul’s makes a real difference to some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

Philip Fowler – Chair of Trustees