First anniversary of follow-on accommodation for homeless
published on 6 Oct 2022
Salvation Army celebrates 1 year of its follow-on accommodation in St Helens for homeless
A supported housing project that was launched in July 2021 to help former homeless people get ready for independent living, has celebrated its first anniversary.
Created a year ago in a bid to tackle homelessness in the Merseyside town, Champions Court in Appleton Road, St Helens, hosts 28 apartments across two blocks with 24-hour wrap-around support provided by The Salvation Army.
The project helps former rough sleepers to continue to overcome the complex reasons for their homelessness, like mental ill health, fleeing domestic violence, childhood trauma or an addiction.
In its first year, among the countless success stories at Champions Court is a resident who was reunited with his children and a couple who welcomed their first baby.
Offering a warm and safe place to stay for up to two years, Champions Court residents are those that are ready to move on from The Salvation Army’s Salisbury House Lifehouse (hostel) and the YMCA’s hostel within St Helens but not ready for independent living.
Resident James*, 48, from St Helens was a successful retail manager of a well-known high street brand but fell on hard times following an addiction to drugs which resulted in losing his job, home and his family. He spent time in The Salvation Army’s Salisbury House Lifehouse and has lived at Champions Court for the past year.
James* said: “I had the life! I had it all; a house, car, wife of ten years, monthly, regular salary, but my addiction turned my life upside down.
“Champions Court has been amazing for me, a great place to live; The Salvation Army has been amazing. I have independent living, which I’m used to, but still with The Salvation Army’s ongoing support, which I need. The apartments are spacious and comfortable and provide me with the hope and courage to know that I will get through this and get my life back on track”.
The flats were redeveloped by northwest housing group, Torus, supported by St Helens Borough Council and funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme. The Salvation Army manages the apartments and supports the residents, onsite, 24-hours a day, seven days a week.
Robert Long, regional manager for Homelessness Services in the North West said: “Champions Court turning one is a huge achievement and shows what a much needed service it is for vulnerable members of the community.
“We have had success in working alongside local organisations and the council to deliver a project that supports former rough sleepers until they are ready to make the next step to independence. It’s really special for us to see how far some of our residents have come since coming through the doors at Champions Court. We will continue to deliver this, seeing the person and their needs as opposed to the label of homelessness.
“The idea of taking residents from local homeless services like Salisbury House and the YMCA, therefore freeing up spaces in these outlets of supported accommodation, means we can help more people off the streets and get them the support they need to tackle the root causes of homelessness of which we are incredibly passionate.”
Torus Chief Operating Officer, Cath Murray-Howard, said: “Torus is committed to investing in and growing stronger communities, Champions Court has gone a long way to address the real inequalities highlighted by the pandemic, to ensure that no one was left behind.
“Launching the scheme on the back of pandemic presented unique challenges, but the scheme has gone a long way to provide much-needed safe and secure places to call home, allowing the residents to move forward with the support they need to move on to independent lives.
“Torus is looking forward to the schemes continuing success and lending its support to our partners, to our tenants and residents and entire communities.”