YMCA, They can start you back on your way…
24 JUN 2020
An Allchurches Trust grant of £2,250 has helped the YMCA to create two affordable flats, bridging a gap between supported accommodation and independent living, and employing an innovative approach based on the psychological make-up of residents.
YMCA Bedfordshire supports disadvantaged and vulnerable people from five to 65, through accommodation, family work and courses to enhance independent living skills.
Every night, they provide urgent accommodation for over 220 people who are at risk of homelessness, or already find themselves out in the cold. There are five projects in Bedford and Luton supporting homelessness, two refuges for women and their children, and supported lodgings helping young people aged 16 and over to find their feet with local host families.
Bedford has the 12th highest rate of rough sleepers nationwide, and the YMCA want to ensure they have a range of accommodation available to suit people at different stages of their journey back to independent living.
Linden House is an accommodation project helping residents to live more independent lives, supporting them to become more self-sufficient and confident. Around 50% of the residents have previously lived in the YMCA’s other supported accommodation and have graduated towards housing which offers more freedom.
A place to call home
With the help of funding from Allchurches Trust, Linden House has been able to expand and create two new, self-contained flats, by re-ordering underused rooms in the property. The modern flats are bright, airy, private and most importantly, affordable. Homeless link has reported that the lack of affordable housing has been one of the primary barriers preventing people from moving on from their services.
The exciting renovation project has been designed to complement YMCA’s Psychologically Informed Environment (PIE) approach – taking into account the psychological makeup of their residents and using this as a base to provide the necessary support. This means taking into consideration emotions, personalities and past experiences. It’s an approach adopted to help vulnerable people make that transition from homelessness, particularly people who have experienced significant trauma in their life.
The physical environment is another layer to the PIE, and the new accommodation is the cherry on top!
YMCA is delighted, as both flats have had immediate occupancy…
Bernard is a middle aged man who moved into one of the other supported properties in 2019, having had a difficult background leading to him sleeping rough. Now, he has the chance to make that step into a more independent way of life and improve his sense of wellbeing and confidence.
Claire is a young woman who became homeless after close relationships broke down and has been living with YMCA for over two years. She now has a place to call her own and can see a way back to a more dignified, independent life.
Babz Astle, Grants Management Officer for YMCA Bedfordshire, said: “Opening these new flats has meant both Bernard and Claire have a bright and clean space to call home, with a garden and a front door, from which they can go out to start earning again. We thank all at Allchurches Trust for this grant. It has certainly made a difference.”
Chloe Ewen, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, added: “We are delighted that our funding has helped to create two new homes for people who need that second chance at an independent and fulfilled life. We hope that both Bernard and Claire will be very happy in their new flats!”