ABOUT OUR SHELTER
The Wolverhampton Church Shelter began back in February 2016 as a four-week pilot project, following the tragic death of a rough sleeper in the City Centre in early January that year.
A new partnership between two churches made it possible – Tabernacle Baptist Church (TAB) and Grace Church, Wolverhampton. The basement of Tabernacle Baptist’s Broad Street site was ideal and Grace Church agreed to take on all the operational governance and safeguarding responsibilities.
A Facebook page was created and within four weeks £6,000 had been donated and over 30 volunteers recruited and trained from many different backgrounds across the City.
Unlike other severe weather shelters, the Church Shelter stayed open 7 days a week because the primary purpose was for it to be a place of rest and recuperation. The 20 beds offered those leading chaotic lives the opportunity to get a bit of stability back into their lives.
During the pilot run, 37 different people were ‘guests’ in the Shelter. Several were helped into accommodation and a few managed to find work. A report was published and recommended how the next Church Shelter could operate based on the learning.
In early 2017 the Church Shelter ran for four months from January until the end of April in the same facility at Broad Street. The culture was the same – a caring, family environment but this time there was a greater emphasis on trying to encourage all the guests to engage on what had become known as a Pathway of Hope - a personal and recognised route back into accommodation and employment supported by those best placed to do so from a variety of agencies across the City.
Over the four months, 113 different people stayed in the Shelter and 20% moved on into either accommodation and employment, or both. The feedback from the other agencies working at the forefront of homelessness was that they were finding that clients who were staying in the Shelter were now engaging far more readily than before.
All the money that was needed for the four-month operation in 2017 was raised by private donations with an additional £3,000 being provided by Transforming Communities Together. Over 50 volunteers were actively involved over the four months.
Once again, a report was written and it recommended that the next Church Shelter should become a permanent facility operating as an integrated part of the Pathway of Hope. It is planned to open this in early December 2017.
There are many types of homelessness
"Core homelessness" - this includes rough sleeping, sofa surfing, squatting, people living in hostels and unsuitable forms of temporary accommodation as well as people forced to sleep in cars, tents and night shelters
Was the estimated number of people sleeping rough in England on a single night in the Autumn of 2016.
The majority of homeless people are hidden from statistics and services as they are dealing with their situation informally.