Homelessness in Harrogate
'Harrogate is lovely'. That’s what everyone says and it’s true of course. From the incredible greenery of the Stray, the town atmosphere, the amazing shops and restaurants, to the beautiful buildings in the town, Valley Gardens, the friendliness of the people, the list is endless. It’s no wonder that the town always features very highly in the best places to live category of surveys that are conducted from time to time. That’s not to say of course that the town is perfect and like all places it has its problems and homelessness is one of the problems as it is across the UK.
We see homeless can be caused by a variety of factors such as
- Economic reasons – unemployment, debt, arrears etc.
- Social reasons – relationship breakdown, family breakdown etc.
- Loss of accommodation for other reasons eg anti-social behaviour, landlord reclaiming property, tied accommodation etc.
There are also a core of ‘hard to house’ clients who access who have more complex issues and housing histories including entrenched rough sleepers.
By working with the other homeless agencies Lifeline works to create a sustainable future for residents who have been close to losing everything.
So how can Lifeline help?
Lifeline provides move-on accommodation for those people who have been formerly homeless, to equip them to be able to live independently. We house men and women between the ages of 18 and 70. The vast majority of our residents have a local connection. Intensive housing management is provided to ensure residents maintain their accommodation. Lifeline is on call 7 days a week from 8am to 9pm.
Lifeline provides support to monitor and improve physical/mental health, wellbeing and maintain long-term recovery from addiction. Residents are visited at least twice a week, once for their weekly support meeting by their support worker. We agree support plans with all our residents and these will include volunteering and other opportunities including college education. We create work opportunities, such as through a course we organised with Harrogate Town AFC, and at any time full agency interaction is very important.
We hold a fortnightly ‘lunch club’ with our residents at St George's Community Centre. This enables the residents to appreciate that they are part of more than just a member of one house enabling them to build relationships with Lifeline volunteers and other Lifeline residents, helping to build up their self-confidence and self-esteem, and increase their support network.
•Monthly ‘wellbeing activity’ trips out (eg to Go-karting, Fountains Abbey, Saltburn, Football, Swinsty Reservoir, Knaresborough boating, Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Ten pin Bowling, Climbing Centre, annual Christmas evening meal)
•Fortnightly Thursday lunch clubs at St Georges Community Centre
•Fruit and Veg deliveries from Roots and Fruits
•Gym/Swim passes at ‘the Hydro’
•Crisis Loans for residents in need
•Amazing provision from a sponsorship from ‘Cook Harrogate’ who supply is with 30 ready meals per fortnight
•Fully furnished homes with all bills taken care of
•Internet in each house
•Dental treatment via ‘Dentaid’ and their amazing van and staff – 10 residents were given potentially life-saving treatment in one day!
•Repairs and maintenance on the properties provided quickly
•A dedicated support worker for each resident
•A weekly ‘peer support group’ with Jade at St George’s Community Centre
•General follow-on support to leavers from Jade – “you were still there for me after I left”, one former resident reminded us recently
•Bespoke meaningful activity programmes (10 hours plus) for all residents
•Accountability – drug testing & partnership working with other agencies
We have seen many residents lives change for the better as they leave their old life style behind of unemployment, addiction to drugs, alcohol etc. With our help and support, they leave Lifeline for their own accommodation, with jobs and a support network, feeling happy and optimistic about their futures.