Coventry awards homelessness support contract to Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has been awarded a contract to provide support across Coventry to people who are homeless or ex-offenders.
Awarded by the city council, the scheme will provide supported accommodation and floating support for hundreds of vulnerable people in the city.
“We are delighted to be working with Coventry City Council on this exciting scheme to tackle homelessness in the city, said Nathan Slinn, the Salvation Army’s regional manager.
“We look to help people get back on their feet – with a hand up not a hand out. People are at the centre of everything we do, and we believe in people when they may not believe in themselves.
“Our floating support services are tailored to support individual needs and we want to eradicate the revolving door of homelessness. As such our floating support services create tailored packages to help people sustain their own tenancy and achieve the best they can in life through employment and independence.”
The new scheme, which launches today, will see people offered supported accommodation for three months (and if necessary this will be extended) before they are moved into a flat with regular floating support. The support will be tailored to the individual and changed over time as they become more independent.
In the past, 220 beds for single homeless people were offered and many providers offered two year placements, but it is felt the shorter stays – which already operate at The Salvation Army’s Harnall Lifehouse – help people get back on their feet quicker with floating support assisting with independent living.
There will also be an outreach programme included as part of the scheme, with people going out on regular walks around the town with a focus on where homeless people congregate, with the aim of engaging people, getting them off the street and into supported accommodation.
One of the new aspects of the scheme will be a specialist complex needs service – with beds provided for those with a range of issues in addition to homelessness such as drug, alcohol, and mental health issues.
Slinn added: “The Salvation Army is dedicated to caring for people who are vulnerable or in need by offering practical help, a listening ear, and compassionate support.
“We will be looking to ensure that through this scheme people will be given a warm and friendly welcome at any of our centres in Coventry with the support they need to get back on their feet.”
Since January, Salvation Army church – Coventry corps – has been providing a night shelter with a cooked dinner for people once a week as part of a co-ordinated effort with six other churches across the city. This largely volunteer-led provision, for people who are homeless in the city, will continue until the end of March.
Councillor Ed Ruane, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for housing, said the council is looking forward to building on the existing relationship with Salvation Army.
“It is wonderful a not-for-profit charity such as the Salvation Army has won the contract to deliver homelessness services in the city and they have an excellent track record in this specialist field,” he said.
“I think the shorter tenancies but long-term support is something that make a real difference but is something we will monitor and work with the Salvation Army over the next five years of this contract.”
Martin Haywood, 33, has been staying at The Salvation Army's Harnall Lifehouse in Harnall Lane West, Coventry, for the last one and a half months. He said: "I think The Salvation Army is fantastic. The way they work – they have time for you. You only stay here for a certain amount of time and I have seen several people get housed after moving on from here already. The support workers are amazing."
Chris Lynch, 36, has been living at Harnall Lifehouse for six weeks. He had been homeless for two years before he moved to The Salvation Army. He said: "It has given me a base camp to be able to develop and better my life. Through the support system that is in place here - they teach you how to pay bills, how to pay rent - life skills that I may have been missing before. They provide excellent support for you."
Photo: (Front row, left to right) Councillor Ed Ruane, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for housing; Major Samuel Edgar, divisional commander for the West Midlands; Major Julia Johnson, spiritual director at Harnall Lifehouse.
Back Row (left to right): Major Keith Johnson, spiritual director at Harnall Lifehouse; Nathan Slinn, regional manager Central Region; Kirk Savage, programme co-ordinator Harnall Lifehouse; Martin Haywood, resident at Harnall Lifehouse; Kate Hopkins, support worker Harnall Lifehouse.