In October 2016, Crisis received funding from Croydon council’s Community Fund to develop our ‘First Steps Away from Homelessness’ project, based at the Skylight Croydon centre, Unit 3, Bridge House, 13 Surrey Street, Croydon, CR0 1RG.

The project works with vulnerable and isolated single homeless people with high support needs in Croydon. Progression Coaches provide intensive, one-to-one support to help people take their first steps away from the devastating effects of homelessness, unemployment and isolation. People are supported to improve their confidence, self-esteem and aspirations, access training, and develop the skills they need to compete in the job market. We also offer a personalised housing coaching service to support people to improve their housing situation and access sustainable housing. In the short term, this may be supporting rough sleepers to access temporary accommodation in night shelters or hostels, and in the long term finding more permanent accommodation in the Private Rented Sector.

They provide a flexible and personalised approach, enabling people to overcome the personal and structural barriers which prevent them moving on positively with their lives.

Beneficiaries can access our services through two referral pathways:

  1. Open access self-referral;
  2. Referral through local voluntary sector/statutory organisations from Croydon and the surrounding boroughs;

Skylight Croydon additional information:
In November 2015, the Crisis Skylight service began in Croydon. However, this was exclusively an outreach service and there was a clear need for a dedicated building-based service. Planning permission was granted to transform the Surrey Street building in February 2016. Building works commenced in July 2016 and were completed by February 2017.

What help do they provide?
At Crisis Skylight Croydon, members can access a broad range of classes and support including:

  • Progression Coaching: holistic 1-2-1 support with a dedicated Progression Coach, focussing on people’s strengths and hopes for the future;
  • Practical housing support including 1-2-1 Housing Coaching and a Housing Surgery Drop-in helping people improve their housing situation, through moving into Private Rented Sector accommodation, including an accessible version of our accredited Renting Ready course.
  • Healthcare including all the help you would normally get from your GP that homeless people miss out on, and a Wellbeing Drop-in giving mental health support;
  • Art, IT, Maths, English, ESOL, and Painting and Decorating courses 

They operate a membership criteria for their services which is open to the following individuals:

  1. People who are currently homeless, including rough sleepers, or living in a night shelter or hostel, NASS supported accommodation, supported accommodation as a result of being homeless, a B&B, a squat, other temporary accommodation or sofa surfing;
  2. People who have been homeless within the last two years;
  3. People who are at risk of becoming homeless within the next 3 to 6 months.

Supporting people in Croydon – Louise’s* Story

After escaping a physically abusive relationship of sixteen years, Louise found herself homeless and her mental health deteriorating. She moved in with her aunt for a short time and then into supported accommodation. However, as she had recently met someone, she was deemed to need less support and was moved into a local hostel.

“I was there for seven months. I didn’t like it at all. It was just horrible. I felt trapped. I suffer with depression and being in there just made it worse. I was just stuck in a room. I didn’t want to be in there for a year, two years, three years, there were quite a few people that had been there for nigh on four years.”

Feeling anxious that she would remain in the hostel for years, on hearing that Crisis had set up an outreach service in the Salvation Army in Croydon, Louise immediately came to visit.
Louise was then introduced to Kasia, a Crisis Housing Coach.
“I was going down there every Monday and speaking to Crisis. I started speaking to Michelle (Crisis Staff), and she passed on my details to Kasia, and then Kasia got the ball rolling for me. Two weeks later, Kasia phoned me saying that a flat had become available, would I like to come and view? I literally jumped at the chance of coming over here and viewing. I needed to get my life back on track.”
Within two weeks Kasia had found Louise a studio flat.
“As soon as I undid that door I was like – “I’m home!”. Basically, I love it here, I don’t want to go back. Since I’ve been here I’ve been happy, I’ve been going out more, I never wanted to go out when I was in the hostel at all. Kasia was lovely. She was like a guardian angel, she rescued us from that hostel. I’d recommend Crisis to people I know that are homeless.They’re an amazing charity”.

*name has been changed