Local MP visits Coventry Salvation Army centre and hears residents’ personal experiences of homelessness

published on 22 Dec 2016

MP Colleen Fletcher met with residents and staff at a Coventry Salvation Army residential centre for people experiencing homelessness and heard of the difficulties they faced when living on the streets.

  The visit by the MP for Coventry North-East took place on Friday (December 2) at The Salvation Army’s Harnall Lifehouse in Harnall Lane West.  Harnall Lifehouse is a home for single men and women experiencing homelessness in Coventry. It opened in 2012 to accommodate 80 people and also offers emergency beds for people living on the streets.

  Lieutenant Daniel Holland from The Salvation Army showed her the living accommodation at the Lifehouse which includes ensuite rooms in clusters of five with a shared communal kitchen and dining area. She was also shown the IT facilities, employment resource centre, café, and emergency provision for people sleeping rough. 

  Colleen Fletcher MP, said: “I was delighted to visit Harnall Lane Lifehouse and see the great work being done there for people experiencing homelessness; not just in providing beds for the most vulnerable but in supporting and advising them through to independent living. I had the opportunity to speak to some of the residents and they all expressed their gratitude for the friendship, care, and support they received at the Lifehouse.”

  Lieutenant Holland explained to Ms Fletcher how the Lifehouse ensures those living at the centre are involved in decisions about the care provided and that each service user has a keyworker who supports them with a programme tailored to their needs. Lieutenant Holland, said: “The Lifehouse offers training, education, a life skills programme, and volunteering opportunities, which are all aimed at improving residents’ self-esteem, mental health, and employment prospects so that they can break the cycle of homelessness.”

  During the visit the MP spoke with residents and heard how difficult it can be to access services when living on the streets. Residents told Ms Fletcher about problems with getting access to dental services when sleeping rough, something most people take for granted. Registering with a dentist is difficult if someone has no fixed address or contact details, or are waiting for benefits. The Salvation Army often helps people sleeping on the streets to access urgent dental services.

  Ms Fletcher added: “This organisation [The Salvation Army] cares for people experiencing homelessness 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, helping the most vulnerable people in our society.  A warm place to sleep and food is a basic human right and I will do all I can to support their work going forward.”

  The Lifehouse at Coventry will be open through Christmas and the New Year. Coventry Winter Night Shelter run by Coventry Churches, which includes The Salvation Army’s church known as Coventry City Corps in Upper Well Street, will provide people sleeping rough with support, a hot meal, and a safe and warm bed for the night. You can see more details about the Night Shelter through their Facebook page, ‘Coventry Winter Night Shelter’. 

  If the community would like to donate to Harnall Lifehouse, please send a cheque payable to ‘The Salvation Army’ and send it to the Lifehouse, or you can give via The Salvation Army website: https://www.salvationarmyappeals.org.uk/ or phone 0800 028 4000 requesting you would like to donate to Harnall Lifehouse in Coventry.