SASH, safe and secure homes for young people.
In 2017 SASH arranged 299 bednights for 43 young people in Hull and ER.
Bridlington was by far the busiest area where 36 young people were provided with accommodation. As SASH’s contract with Hull City Council only started in May we’re expecting 2018 to be even busier across the region, as such we are now focusing on developing a bigger network of hosts in the city.
At present SASH do not have any available Nightstop hosts in Hull, young people are having to travel into the surrounding towns and villages to access emergency accommodation. If you know anyone in the city who might like to use their spare room to help a young person facing homelessness then please see www.sash-uk.org.uk for more information about what we do.
East Yorkshire Project Manager, SASH
Citizen’s Advice - Energy Saving Week 2018
Here’s a list of events organised by Citizen’s Advice locally, helping you to save money on your energy bills. Time to switch?
“John is the reason, and every John that comes after him.“
[from Emma Wagner, Humbercare Ltd]
I’m writing this now as soon as it has happened because it feels like the right time, driving home I stopped at some lights and saw a familiar face. He was waving at me and had a big cheesy grin and I recognised him instantly so I pulled over. It was an old service user, I’d known him and worked with him for years. He’d been in and out of prison in his younger years, lost family and friends alike. He’d slept on the streets of Hull for many years long before Futures existed. He stayed with us at Roper Street. He stayed with us at Westbourne House. In both, every few months he would get itchy feet and leave, to sleep on the streets or who only knows where. Sometimes he’d let himself down, and he’d leave because he believed that he’d let us down too and we’d go out and bring him back. But he worked hard to stay longer every time and every barrier was slowly broken down.
John has been in a flat of his own now for almost 6 months. It’s the first time I’ve seen him. Even when he left he was nervous and unsure and it took weeks to actually get him to go!
He’s been spending time with his sons, his grandchildren too. He tells me his flat is lovely, homely and clean. I believe him because he was the best section representative Westbourne ever had!
Now I know sometimes these stories are the same stories of people moving on, but to us and the people we tell you about, each story is special, and each story is the reason we continue every single day. John is the reason, and every John that comes after him.
I know he will see this, and he will probably cry but these are the best tears because they are tears of pride and hope.
Well done John, so so proud right now and so happy to see you’re doing well.
Emma Wagner, Humbercare Ltd.
I.T. for Jobseekers at Hull Central Library.
I.T. for Jobseekers, a free 4-week course at Hull Central Library. Starting on the 12th of January, you can attend all or any of the session - but booking is essential. Get on it!
“Solidarity and supporting those most in need is a fundamental value of Emmaus.”
Emmaus Hull & East Riding have delivered a Rough Sleeper Outreach service for Hull City Council and East Riding Council since 2016. Our companions who were formerly homeless have trained to become active Outreach workers, dedicating no less than 40 hours a week to supporting those most vulnerable on the streets of Hull and rural hot spots across the East Riding. Experiencing homelessness themselves drives their unprecedented passion to help those most in need.
Emmaus house at any one time 30 formerly homeless people at The Orchard. We support all those who live with us to get back into independent living and for some that also includes employment.
Emmaus develop enterprises with social values and in Hull alone we have opened 3 in the last 18 months.
Emmaus supports those on the breadline with heavily discounted furniture and items of need. We also in collaboration with other agencies support those vulnerably housed or in need.
In recent weeks homelessness has become a topic of great debate with many groups, individuals, and media stories all portraying different pictures.
What we find extremely disappointing and saddening is the derogatory and inaccurate comments on social media made by other groups/individuals about the hard work of others. When this includes the work of our companions we will always stand with them and be a voice that is heard.
There are enough people and social issues in this city to support in various capacities. Solidarity and supporting those most in need is fundamental value of Emmaus. A value that underpins our entire organization.
Be assured there is a vast amount of support and service options across the city for those experiencing homelessness. There are services working everyday day of the year.
We are open and clear about our role and place in the provision of tackling homelessness.
emmaus Hull Team
Are your details up to date?
New year, and it’s time to sweep through the HumberHelp website with a new broom!
Is your local homelessness Organisation or Service listed on the HumberHelp website? If so, are your details up to date? If you’re not listed, then let’s start communicating and promoting the work you do. Please use the email form on the website to notify me of any changes or additions.
The more we know about homelessness and the help available, the more we can achieve.
Jerome - Editor.
YMCA Humber SleepEasy 2018, Friday 2nd February. Register Now!
Give up your bed for one night and join us to sleep under the stars, on Friday 2nd February. The money you raise will be used locally by YMCA Humber and partner organisations in your neighbourhood to support young people in poverty and at risk of homelessness.
A warm room and refreshments will be available during the night, but you will need to make sure you’re well wrapped up!
So for one night only, let’s sleep rough so others don’t have to.
Any questions? Contact us on
‘Billy used to be homeless.’ A visit to Emmaus Hull and East Riding.
By Mel Hewitt, December 2017.
December has shown up again, the same time as it usually does – and bringing all things Christmas along with it. It gets its timing right each year as shoppers scurry in the cold, determined to exchange their monthly incomings into material outgoings that they then wrap up and give to their nearest and dearest - a sure token of their affection and adoration. We only have to take our blinkers off for a minute, though, and in-between the addictively twinkly shop windows of our high streets we see the evidence of our cities being polarised into ‘haves’ and 'have-nots’. Dirty blankets, pots for change, agendas that have no space for anything but nourishment, warmth and the occasional “Can you spare some change please, love?” So for what it’s worth, reader, this Christmas, can I gift you a tale of Billy?
Billy used to be homeless. He knows what it is to be a 'have-not’ in a world addicted to Advent. He has slept on the streets, in hostels and in a prison cell. I am sure he is well-versed in his rattle for change and is highly skilled in catching the eye of a stranger, hurtling past, arms as full as sleighs will be. He also has academic qualifications in mechanics, the gift of the gab, a way of putting people at ease, and now a home at The Orchard - Hull’s Emmaus community. For those of you who don’t know what an Emmaus community is (or indeed that Hull had one) don’t worry - you’re in good company. Let’s start with the internet, then I’ll give you the feels.
Emmaus, according to my pal Wiki, is “an international solidarity movement founded in Paris in 1949 by the Catholic priest Abbe Pierre to combat poverty and homelessness”. His picture hangs proudly in the Emmaus superstore on Lockwood Street where many of the companions live, work and participate in this thing we’re all collectively winging called life. Thirty companions can live and work there at any one time. Emmaus provides a home, a job, a place to socialise, learning and much more than that. It invests in people’s identities and provides them with not only physical safety inside its roof and walls, but an environment fit for purpose with its wraparound care. Billy put it much more eloquently than I ever could with his definition simply being “Freedom”. The superstore is vast, with every conceivable item of donated furniture on display; all cleaned, some upcycled and ready to find a new home. I eyed up a chair that would have sat perfectly in my hallway if only I knew the size of the space to fill. It could wait. I knew I’d be coming back.
Billy tells me the importance of the daily morning meetings, sorting what needs sorting, airing views that need sharing and allocating a key holder for when everyone else goes to their home and the companions are left to manage themselves. A brilliant way for companions to be heard and participate is having their own daily planning meeting. Integration and self-empowerment are key themes that seem to underpin everything that goes on here. I could almost feel it. The companions manage themselves domestically and do this successfully. Rotas line one noticeboard - kitchen, cleaning, laundry - and everyone does their bit to keep the wheel turning.
Next I met their dog - because why shouldn’t a 'family’ and 'community’ have a pet? These folk seem to think outside the box with every available opportunity and make a success out of it. For gardeners there is an allotment and a decent whack of green space. For those who aren’t gardeners, I have a feeling they may have a go. More than once I heard that once someone starts tinkering about with something at The Orchard, others quickly follow suit, constantly belting out those values of involvement, acceptance and skill-sharing. I saw it in action wherever I walked. Someone outside planing wood attracts another companion without realising it, and then there are two. Someone making Christmas trees for the new shop on Whitefriargate is soon joined by another face; a companion working the till for the first time is supported by another. Old skills are rebirthed, new skills are embraced and formal qualifications are achieved. I was quickly becoming The Orchard’s biggest fan.
We walked through to the companions’ entrance and Billy told me of his fears when he had first arrived and sat in the armchair in the lobby. Was it a cult? He soon found out it wasn’t. Would it be like prison? Another qualm quickly quashed. Interestingly, Billy used to live in Hull as a child but held little memories of it until he returned. When he did he surprised himself by knowing how to get around on autopilot because “most things haven’t changed - the streets remained the same”.
He very kindly offered to show me his room. Hands up if you would spontaneously parade the privacy of your bedroom to a stranger? Me neither. There would be swift kicks towards my space under the bed, doors pushed to and a prayer said asking for leniency from the laundry fairies. It was spacious, bright and airy with ensuite facilities - not dissimilar to student halls accommodation; in fact, the plans were to go one better than halls and give each companion more metric space. The furniture 'basics’ are provided but the rest, the things that made his space his own, he bought himself. This is made more achievable by the policy that allows companions 50% off items from the superstore. Billy shared with me tales of his possessions including a New York skyline print and his pride-of-place tropical fish tank. “It was meant to be a fiver but I got it for £2.50,” he beamed. I surely beamed back as I thought, “What a fine Hullism - we always brag about our bargains!”
Two things really stood out to my wandering eyes. Firstly, I spied on top of his wardrobe a pile of criminology textbooks. He was taking some steps to alter his own path while still having a tag in situ - a most uplifting juxtaposition, showing that this ‘have-not’ had decided it was time he 'had’. Secondly, he had previously told me that his room was round the front. Now, he pointed to his curtains as he told me that he always sleeps with them open. A stargazer by default is what I’d instinctively presumed, but poetic instincts can be silenced as romantic and clichéd. “It’s because I’m nosy. I like to know what’s going on.” From one curtain-twitcher to another - this not only was the perfect answer, but also highlighted yet again that if we strip away our labels and limitations, we are all basically the same. I loved the fact that there was also a guest room for companions’ friends and family to visit. Why shouldn’t they be afforded the right to rebuild kinship and social ties?
We went down to the Apple Tree Café where I shook Billy’s hand firmly and thanked him for taking time out of his busy working day to satisfy my curiosity. Much has been expressed recently in the national and local media about the issue of rough-sleeping and homelessness in Hull, some of it ill-informed, much of it untrue and a lot of it discriminatory. I really wanted to find out more about the Rough Sleeper Outreach Support Team, which is another side to the work done at The Orchard. Unfortunately after an incredibly busy night, when staff returned to base, their time was hijacked by having to provide a media response. The media wanted to know what this team of people were doing to solve the problem of rough sleepers in Hull. The irony of this astounded me. They were actually stopped doing their invaluable work, gaining trust with rough sleepers, finding well-thought-out solutions and working flat-out, to answer the question, “How are you solving this?” It was obvious as an outsider that they were doing every possible thing they could and doing it superbly.
A cuppa at the Apple Tree Café ended my visit. I had actually heard more about the café than anything else before I came on this journey. I know people who go out of their way to eat, greet and socialise there and I completely understood why now. The whole place has a vibe that is drenched in positive energy. People aren’t judged or labelled, it hollers equality, empowerment and encouragement so loudly it’s hard not to hear it. The Orchard’s doors are wide open and welcoming. Yes, I like happy endings and positivity and I invariably try to draw them into my peripheral vision wherever I am. The Orchard gave me this without having to go looking too hard at all. Just to top off what was a fantastic morning, someone began playing a beautiful melody on the piano. When I asked who he was, I heard he was a neighbour who often pops by. How perfect - social integration at its finest happening in front of me.
So, this Christmas I will not be sending cards to my nearest, dearest and those in-between; I shall donate what I would have spent to Emmaus Hull. It is in very good hands with them. I wish them nothing but new beginnings, happy endings and a peaceful family Christmas. And Billy? I wish him everything he wishes for himself.
Update on Universal Credit provided by Department for Work and Pension
Please find below an update on Universal Credit produced by the Department for Work and Pensions. This provides information on changes made to how Universal Credit will operate and particular timescales, elements of which were announced in the budget. In addition, the document gives some commentary from the DWP perspective on what Universal Credit is delivering.
I am writing with further details on recent announcements on Universal Credit.
Universal Credit replaces legacy payments with a single monthly payment – merging six benefits into one. It ensures people are better off in work by gradually reducing the benefit payment as earnings increase, so claimants will not lose all their benefits at once, as they would in the old system.
People are moving into work faster and staying in work for longer under Universal Credit. Universal Credit claimants are more likely to be in work within six months than compared to claimants in similar circumstances on the old system. When fully rolled out, Universal Credit is expected to boost employment by around 250,000 – this equates to an average of nearly 400 jobs in every constituency in the UK.
Universal Credit is performing well: the vast majority of claimants now receive their first payment on time. Uptake of advances has increased and they are providing support to claimants in the first few weeks of their claim. We are introducing Universal Credit gradually. Of the total number of households that will eventually move onto Universal Credit, 9% are currently receiving it and this will increase to 12% by February 2018.
As we roll out Universal Credit, we are constantly improving how the system works. The recent announcements offer a balanced package of improvements which puts more money into claimants’ hands earlier and addresses all of the issues claimants face at the beginning of their claim.
Abolishing waiting days
Much comment has focused on the initial seven ‘waiting days’. From February 2018, we are removing the seven-day waiting period for new Universal Credit claimants, reducing the length of time claimants might wait to receive their first full payment.
In Universal Credit claimants are entitled to an advance of up to 50% of the first month’s payment – with the following six months’ payments adjusted to account for this.
From January 2018, we will be changing the system so that new Universal Credit claimants will be offered an advance of up to 100%. In practice, this means that new claimants in December can already receive an advance of up to 50% of their overall entitlement, and may receive a second advance to take it up to 100% in the New Year. Taken with the first payment, this means that claimants in need could receive nearly double the money they would usually get.
We will also be making all payments of advances recoverable over 12 months – if this is what claimants want, regardless of the level of the advance claimed. In addition, from spring next year, we will be making it possible to apply for an advance online – further increasing accessibility for those who need it.
It is worth noting that a self-service advance will be made available from spring 2018, where claimants can request an advance from their online account.
Support with housing costs
Nearly all of the most vulnerable claimants currently receive Housing Benefit. So claimants who were previously receiving Housing Benefit will receive a transitional payment – an extra two weeks support worth on average £233 per claimant – when they move to Universal Credit. This will be unrecoverable, automatic and received early in the first assessment period.
We will also be issuing new guidance to staff to ensure that claimants living in the private rented sector whose Housing Benefit was previously paid directly to landlords are automatically offered this option when they join Universal Credit.
Alternative Payment Arrangements for Landlords
From December 2017, new guidance will be issued to staff to ensure that claimants in the Private Rented Sector, who have managed payments to landlords for their legacy Housing Benefit, are offered this option when they join Universal Credit, provided the relevant criteria continue to be met. This gives additional continuity to claimants when they join Universal Credit.
Temporary accommodation housing support
Currently local authorities see a funding shortage when they place people into temporary and emergency accommodation as they could only recoup around 50% of the cost from Universal Credit. This housing support will be increased to 80% of their expenditure on temporary accommodation.
Providing budgeting help
Finally, those claimants who have difficulty managing their finances can currently qualify for help under the Universal Support scheme, delivered by Local Authorities. We are also exploring with Citizen’s Advice the scope for greater collaborative working to help claimants locally as they move to Universal Credit, and hope to be able to offer an update on this in due course.
Helping claimants progress in work
In addition to these measures, the Government has allocated £8m over four years to conduct a suite of tests and trials to support development of the evidence about what works to help people progress in work. This includes women whom are returning to work and those whom are in insecure work.
Universal Credit Reprofile
To allow all the policy changes above to be implemented, from December 2017 the Live Service will no longer take any new claims. If not living in a Full Service area, claimants will be asked to claim legacy benefits or tax credits. The gateway direct for new claims for families with more than 2 children onto legacy benefits will also be extended until January 2019. To complete the necessary system changes for the Universal Credit Full Service, our roll out schedule will now be completed by December 2018. Details on this are being circulated separately.
This is a comprehensive and wide-ranging package worth £1.5 billion. It is significantly more generous than reducing the UC payment to one month. In terms of cashflow, our package of reforms mean that under Universal Credit, by the time of their first payment, a single claimant aged over 25 receiving housing support in the private rented sector can receive just over £1200, including their advance. By contrast, the equivalent claimant in JSA would receive just £700.
As you may be aware, the Scottish Government have powers to introduce their own flexibilities in certain areas of Universal Credit. We will work closely with the Scottish Government as we take these measures forward.
We must not forget that the support we give people is about more than just money. It is about the help we give people to get into work, to stay in work, and stand on their own two feet. That is what Universal Credit is about – and it will change our welfare system for the better.”
‘Raise the Roof Project’ Christmas Party.
Taking place on 18th December, this Christmas Party and disco is raising funds to put homeless people in Hull into hotels over the festive period.
Hull’s Homeless Support Stand Up Project
That’s the facebook link to comedian Jed Salisbury’s comedy event, to be held on 14th December in Hull. One to support if you can!
Winter support for rough sleepers in Hull, at Dock House (St Peter Street, opposite Post Office Sorting Office). Service provided by Humbercare Ltd.
Financial Help for retired Hull residents on a low income
The Joseph Rank Benevolent Fund principally helps, charities, retired persons on low incomes by paying a small quarterly allowance - to beneficiaries.
The fund helps retired persons and couples on a low income by paying a small quarterly allowance– currently £30 . This does not affect any benefits received i.e. pension credits or housing benefits as it is treated as a charitable gift.
For more information visit:
How you can help Hull's homeless and have a great night out
Cracking comedy initiative by Jed Salisbury - one to support, it’ll be a laugh too!