What’s the need for Hope into Action in Eastbourne?

HiA logoAs budget cuts are made to public services the number and needs of the homeless will increase while services to them is reduced. Now is the moment for churches to respond.

Some facts:

How many people sleep rough each night?

According to figures collected in the autumn of 2015 and published in February 2016, 3,569 people are estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night. There was an increase of 30% from 2014 to 2015, while since 2010 rough sleeping estimates show an increase of 102%.
– See more at: http://www.homeless.org.uk/facts/homelessness-in-numbers/rough-sleeping/rough-sleeping-our-analysis#sthash.SwCFwWBP.dpuf

You don’t have to be living on the street to be homeless. You may be legally classed as homeless if you are sleeping on a friend’s sofa, staying in a hostel, suffering from overcrowding, or other bad conditions.   Shelter

Statutory homelessness

Every quarter, the government releases statistics on the levels, types and outcomes of homelessness applications received by councils across England. The statistics for October to December (Quarter 4) 2015, released on 23rd March 2016:

Compared to Q1 2015, the latest statistics show that in Q1 2016:
• The number of applications increased 5%
• The number of acceptances increased 9%
• The rate of acceptance was 51%, up two percentage points
• Homelessness due to the loss of an assured shorthold tenancy remained the biggest cause of homelessness at 31%
• Use of temporary accommodation rose by 11%
• Homeless households placed in other LA areas increased 15%
See Homeless Link’s interactive data tool for more figures: http://www.homeless.org.uk/facts/homelessness-in-numbers/statutory-homelessness

29,120 households approached their local authority for help with homelessness. This was a 5% increase on Q1 2015 (27,640).
14,780 households were accepted as being homeless and in priority need. This was a 9% increase on Q1 2015 (13,520).
The rate of acceptance was 51%, up slightly from 49% in Q1 2015.
The number of acceptances for young people (16–24) remained steady (3,290 in Q1 2016; 3,280 in Q1 2015).

Who is HiA for?What about Eastbourne?

In Eastbourne, we know from our work and anecdotal evidence from other agencies that a surprising number of people in Eastbourne are homeless. These include street homeless / rough sleepers, people in B&B accommodation and ‘hotels’ where they are often treated very badly – sometimes not provided with furniture or even a kettle, no kitchen facilities and not allowed to stay in the rooms during the day. Others are ‘sofa surfing’ with friends and relatives. Whilst numbers are not as high as some areas, there was a 47% increase in homeless applications in the first quarter of 2016 over the same period last year, with an acceptance rate of 43%. Those not accepted were denied because they were deemed intentionally homeless. There has been a significant rise in the numbers of households living in temporary accommodation (bed and breakfasts).

The local church is essential to our approach

The transition into mainstream society is often very difficult for people coming off the streets, out of prison, from a hostel or out of a rehabilitation centre. We believe the church is uniquely placed to provide brilliant support in this area of need.

We believe in 3 things
1) The church should be ‘providing the poor wanderer with shelter’ (Isaiah 58)
2) The church can offer unique and valuable support
3) In every church there are people with a God-given passion for this issue

How it works:

HiA How it works diagrammeWhat does being a church ‘partner’ involve?

Assigning a small group of people who between them, following training are:
Prepared to pray for 2-3 tenants in a house;
Able to provide practical support and kindness, (help to decorate the house, accompany them to the job centre etc);
Willing to build relationships and mentor tenants;
Prepared to work in partnership with our professional support workers.

In this way the church can provide a positive community to someone who needs it the most.

Interested in getting involved or finding out more? Click here for main Hope into Action page or  Please contact us here