The Somewhere Safe To Stay hub opened before Christmas to house existing and new rough sleepers while offering same-day assessments of their financial, medical and housing needs to end their homelessness for good.  The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government confirmed the council’s Gateway service will receive £1.218m in 2020/21 for its ongoing homelessness prevention and intervention work, including the hub. . 

In its first eight weeks of operation, the hub has helped 49 people who were referred by local specialists including the council’s Gateway service and partners Croydon Reach and Crisis. Of these, 15 were supported into longer-term accommodation including supported housing, council homes, private rented properties and housing association tenancies. 

Croydon roofer Desmond Cooke originally became homeless in January 2019 when he was evicted by his private landlord, and after several months in hostels he was referred to the hub. He has now moved on to longer-term accommodation delivered by housing provider Changing Lives. He said: “I was a bit taken aback by it all; it’s fantastic. On December 7 or 8 I was desolate, but I walked in and the amount of help I had made me feel slightly guilty.” 

Delivered for the council by specialist homelessness charity Evolve Housing + Support, the hub includes shared sleeping quarters, female-only shared bedrooms, a private room and a kitchen. 

As well as the hub, the ongoing Government funding announced this week means the council can continue to deliver a number of other homelessness prevention schemes, including: 

  • Specialist housing and wraparound support for vulnerable long-term rough sleepers 
  • Food Stops where families at risk of homelessness get cut-price weekly shops and help to boost their financial independence and job prospects 
  • A mental health outreach and treatment service 

The council received around £1.2m in total last year from three MHCLG schemes; the Rough Sleeping Initiative, Rapid Rehousing Fund and Cold Weather Fund.