After 17 months of fundraising and renovations, and over £500,000 of investment, Tabor Living celebrated the transition of its services from a smaller site at St Anne’s, in Digbeth, where it has been based for five years to a new facility at St Catherine of Siena, Bristol Street in the centre of Birmingham. 9 new emergency bedrooms have been created as well as 10 ‘next-steps’ rooms to support those who are experiencing homelessness, this is doubling their existing provision.
Tabor Living is a collaborative project between a number of partners including Fr Hudson’s Care and the Archdiocese of Birmingham, who are both members of the CSAN network. Tabor Living are pleased to increase their accommodation and support offer to those experiencing homelessness in the city, they will also continue to operate their 3-bedroom move-on house, Tabor Cottage, nearby.
The launch on Wednesday 19 April saw Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor, officially open the new project alongside Archbishop Bernard Longley and the Tabor Living Project Manager, Sharon Fear. On Sunday 23 April, organisers also extended their celebrations with a Mass of Thanksgiving led by Archbishop Bernard Longley and offered supporters the opportunity to have a tour of the new building.
Sharon Fear explained why the initiative was timely: “One of the reasons we’ve looked at expanding and becoming bigger is because we’ve noticed that there are fewer options for people who are working, but who still need that support for the next move on – that’s where we can help.” She explained that the people they work with “tend to get overlooked because they’re functioning in some ways, but still need support and help”. Many of the guests at Tabor Living are migrants with restricted eligibility to public funds, who have to ensure they sustain themselves through employment.
Tabor Living has helped over 100 people since its initial launch in 2015, at a time when it was believed at least 200 people per night were sleeping without a roof over their head, within the city It has been reported that this number had peaked at 400 in the summer of 2021, according to Birmingham City Council records, following the cessation of the furlough scheme and the increased cost of living.
With a success rate estimated at 75%, Tabor Living expects this to increase with the launch of the new facilities. Archbishop Bernard reflected that they “are on the threshold of Tabor House in its new manifestation here. This is going to be a place of welcome for so many people.” Sharon Fear reflected that, “Tabor has always been about giving people their dignity back and working with them on what they want to achieve. We’re about so much more than just a bed – our volunteers and mentors work with our guests on an individual strength-based basis to support them to achieve their goals and move into more independent living.”
To find out more about the project, please visit https://www.taborliving.co.uk/