Report from Father Hudson’s Care
After recent Government statistics showed a 60% rise in the number of people sleeping rough in Birmingham, Father Hudson’s Care (CSAN member charity) has spoken about the work at Digbeth homeless shelter, Tabor House.
Since opening in September 2017, Tabor House has supported ten people to move into their own accommodation. Yet more people have been supported to move back in with families or shared living arrangements. Volunteers at Tabor House provide hospitality to guests, offering them a warm and friendly welcome as they adjust to the shelter. Volunteer mentors assist guests in accessing the support they need to move forward – training, managing debt, building their employment skills – whatever they need to turn their lives around.
Christy Acton, Deputy Community Projects Manager at Father Hudson’s Care said, “The rise in homelessness is disappointing. We can see on the streets of Birmingham that the issue is getting worse. Tabor House is here 365 nights a year, and we’re trying to help people for the long-term. Some guests stay for three or four months, and during that time we work with them to give them every chance to move on. This may be into their own accommodation, or into work – we give them time and space to take steps forward.
“You can find yourself on the street very quickly. You can lose your job, a relationship might end – there are a whole range of complex issues. You end up with no choice but to sleep on the streets. But there’s a lot of good work going on in the city to try and help. Ideally we want to catch someone before they have that first night or those first few days because we find that once someone has had a few weeks or months on the streets, it’s a much harder situation to deal with.”
Tabor House is a collaborative project between Father Hudson’s Care, Midland Heart, Housing Justice, Irish in Birmingham, the Society of St Vincent de Paul (England and Wales), the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, corporate philanthropists, and local homelessness specialists. Together they have formed iShelter—a new homelessness organisation that aims to help homeless people turn their lives around. Homeless people are referred to Tabor House by the Birmingham charities Midland Heart and Sifa Fireside. The project is managed by the iShelter Management Committee, made up of representatives from the key partner organisations, under the umbrella of Father Hudson’s Care.