Next The Essex Lottery draw on Sat 23 November at 8PM
The draw is in 6 days 6 hours 3 minutes!
Need of the Shelter quickly out stripped capacity and, with the help of Colchester Borough Council, the current premises became available providing 20 beds (both twin and single rooms) in 1991. In 1995, Lottery funding allowed us to buy the property outright. The policy of the Shelter changed at the same time making the Shelter available to both single men and women. It would also be an “open shelter” to all over the age of eighteen regardless of sex, race, gender or racial grounds.
Capacity and opening times at the Shelter have not changed. Our open house policy has not changed. The range and needs of the homeless has, and is, changing. We have taken on board difficult to house clients since 1995 but their problems (and therefore their needs) are becoming more complex. Drug and alcohol addiction and mental health problems are growing and proving more difficult to help. The housing stock is reducing due to benefit and welfare changes and public and private rental is very difficult to find within the budgets of our clients. The ability of our client group to maintain their tenancies is therefore becoming more difficult often because of poor money management and spending priorities are low on their skills agenda.
Our services have expanded to meet the more complex demands of our clients and we provide in depth assessments, welfare support (including benefits) and some initial basic training. We rely largely on our local contacts with other charities which specialise in the supply of retail property and the Council/ Housing associations to provide accommodation opportunities, including supported housing. However, as benefits to the unemployed have changed so has the available rental housing stock with providers concentrating on those clients who can attract the most public funds. Our problem has always been that our client does not usually meet the criterion.
Thank you to everyone who supports us, and helps us remain a strong independent reliable charity helping the homeless of Colchester and surrounding areas.
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