Who are homeless people?
A homeless person can be anyone, even you or me, given the same circumstances: redundancy, home repossession, a broken marriage, prolonged unemployment, mental illness, personality problems, institutional care from childhood, alienation from family and friends, violence and abuse. People new to London not finding accommodation. Ex-servicemen and women sometimes find themselves homeless at the end of their term of service. Those who are excluded from benefits sometimes may also become homeless, along with economic migrants and people who are destitute and people leaving institutions with nowhere to live.
Who are we?
The Daughters of Charity and Westminster Cathedral first opened the doors of The Passage to people sleeping out nearby in October 1980. The work has grown steadily and now the Passage Resource Centre helps 3,000 people each year. In 1990, at the request of the late Cardinal Hume, The Passage opened a temporary night shelter for the cold winter months. This project never closed and grew into our permanent hostel, Passage House, which provides a refuge for 40 people until they can move forward to longer-term accommodation. We have now been helping the homeless for 36 years.
What we do
Street outreach work
Contact with local homeless people on the street; Encouraging them to seek help in our projects; Working in partnership with other agencies.
A Warm Welcome and dealing with basic needs
Food – hot breakfast and lunch; coffee, tea and soft drinks, Showers; Laundry; Clothing; a place to be away from the street; Hairdressing.
Help to return to accommodation and support away from Central London. Advice on Emergency night shelters; Hostels; Benefits; Identification documents; Form filling; Debt counselling. Advice on immigration issues.
Establishing housing rights and needs; Referrals to local authorities where appropriate; Permanent and temporary accommodation; Special needs housing; Help setting up home; Links with specialist services; ongoing support; One-to-one befriending/mentoring by volunteers; obtaining proof of identity and claiming welfare rights. Assisting people leaving hospital at risk of homelessness to find somewhere to live before being discharged.
GP surgery; Nursing care; Specialist mental health workers; Specialist drug and alcohol abuse workers; Podiatrist; Dental examination; Homeopathy; and Acupuncture.
Training and employment
Clients are encouraged and supported to write their CVs, search for work and take up employment or further training if necessary. Extra support is provided when they resume employment. Over 10 people end their homelessness through return to employment each month with our support.
Training for Work
We work in partnership with Land Securities who have established a ‘sector based academy’ which guarantees selected clients; training, a work placement and a guaranteed interview for a job in the construction industry. Training and employment also provide
Basic literacy and numeracy; Open access computer training; Vocational guidance; Promoting suitable work opportunities in partnership with Business in the Community; Mentoring; Setting up a bank account.
A sympathetic ear; Pastoral support; Women’s group; Special attention for older homeless people; Reminiscence group; Recreational activities and visits.
As an individual moves along the path from homelessness, if appropriate, they are given the opportunity to help others as a volunteer combined with a work skills training course.
40-bed hostel; Open 24 hours per day; Access to all Passage services; Two beds for night-time emergency access; One-to-one support by trained staff; Range of further training, education and leisure activities, resettlement. The top floor is organised as a self-catering foyer for those preparing to move into employment or on to a self-contained flat.
Provides 16 self-contained studio flats for residents preparing for independent living. Staff provide life skills and support to the residents as they prepare to move to long-term, more permanent accommodation.
Home for good
The journey does not finish when a homeless person moves into their own accommodation. One in eight rough sleepers is someone returning to the street. With support from our Home for Good scheme 97% maintain their tenancies.