When Crisis was formed over 50 years ago, it was done so in response to the growing numbers of people experiencing homelessness across Great Britain. Sadly today, there are still hundreds of thousands of individuals and families experiencing the worst forms of homelessness.
By Steve Harding, Director of Crisis’ Skylight Merseyside
Crisis Skylight Merseyside is one of 11 centres across Great Britain offering one to one support, advice and training for people at risk of, or experiencing homelessness. We’re based in Liverpool City Centre, and we also work across the region to provide outreach services in hostels and community venues.
There are many reasons why someone may become homeless or be at risk of losing their home – but that does not mean we accept it in our society. Shelter is a basic human need. As human beings we all need a home to build a life, to thrive. We can all make this happen.
Through a combination of support with housing, employment and training, we work with clients to end their homelessness and move on with their lives. One gentleman that I will always remember came to our centre after being homeless for almost 20 years. We worked with him to understand what he needed to help him out of homelessness and he accessed training, employment support and help with housing. He’s been living in his own home for some time now and is thriving.
In the eight years the Merseyside service has been running, we have worked with thousands of other people to ensure they get the support and advice they need to end their homelessness. We work with people to ensure their homelessness doesn’t define them – yes, that’s part of their journey, but we help them move on.
Across Great Britain, there are over 170,000 families experiencing the worst forms of homelessness – that includes people sleeping rough, sofa surfing or living in hostels or other temporary accommodation. Our research shows how homelessness can affect all ages with 38,000 young adults under the age of 25 and 4,200 homeless people aged 65 or over finding themselves without a home.
We know that homelessness can absolutely be ended – but that it will take a collective effort to do so. We work directly with Government, local authorities to try to influence change – whether that’s calling for the Vagrancy Act to be scrapped – a 200-year old law which needlessly criminalises those forced to sleep on our streets – or calling for urgent investment in housing benefit so that those who rely on this can afford to pay their rent. Currently, housing benefit rates cover the cost of just one in five privately rented homes.
Everyone should have somewhere to live – and until our society prevents homelessness from happening, and supports people when it does, we’ll continue to be here.
96 Kent St,
Liverpool, L1 5BD
Opening hours: 8:30am till 6pm Monday to Friday. Closed weekends.
Tel 0151 218 7000
For more information about Crisis, and Skylight Merseyside, visit: https://www.crisis.org.uk/get-help/merseyside/