For LATCH, 2020 represents a year in which we have truly triumphed against challenge and adversity. We started the year filled with hope and plans to expand and strengthen the service: more hosts, more hosted clients, the recruitment of a new support worker and a few new, people-led projects. Nothing could have prepared our small team for the pandemic-driven, dramatic changes in response and delivery of our service. This started with working from home and very little else about the way we work in normal times, remained the same.
LATCH joined the many other homeless service voices imploring the government to take action and make it possible for all vulnerable homeless people to be accommodated rapidly and safely to eliminate the risk of exposure to the Coronavirus. They listened and positioned Dame Louise Casey to spearhead the “Everyone In” campaign. The calls to action we released on social media resulted in many homeless people, literally coming out of the woods.
Through the lockdowns and ever-evolving pandemic, one thing has remained constant which has been the strong commitment of Trustees and staff, including Sarah and Debbie our new support worker, enabling our service to adapt and change to the needs of our clients. We are extremely grateful to our hosts with spare rooms for keeping our clients safe at this time and the clients themselve whose stories are often harrowing, for trusting our service.
We wish to thank the many funders whose depth of insight and experience allowed them to envisage a fast emerging crisis for all charities, which gave way to all important Covid-19 emergency crisis funding, and to their panels who decided to support our work, granting us a lifeline and the vital extra hours to help homeless men and women approaching our service, with nowhere else to turn. It has also been deeply encouraging and inspiring to receive so many messages from our local friends and supporters who, in the midst of most challenging times, have continued to rally support for the homeless cause in more ways than one.
The community we serve is at the forefront of all we do, so it is blessing that there is a growing and shared vision for a community where everyone is supported and empowered to fulfil their desire for a safe and secure home. The merger of LATCH (BCHA) and The Bromley Homeless Shelter in 2021 will rightly provide one service for the needs of all homeless people in our local community.
From a personal perspective, it is a privilege and honour to serve those around us, to meet each person where they are in their troubled and challenging lives. I am humbled by their pain and inspired by their resilience. I look forward to working with other local organisations and stakeholders as we continue to adapt and improve our offering, raising awareness of all homelessness and giving a voice to those experiencing it.
Lolly Bell, Project Manager - 31st December 2020
Merger of LATCH (BCHA)
and The Bromley Homeless Shelter
The Bromley Homeless Shelter AGM on Thursday 28 January 2021 approved this Members' Resolution:
Following successful consultation on the proposed merger of The Bromley Homeless Shelter with LATCH (legal name Bromley Churches Housing Action), it is proposed that to legally enact the merger, The Bromley Homeless Shelter be dissolved and the entire undertaking of the Charity be transferred to Bromley Churches Housing Action Charitable Incorporated Organisation (BCHA) whose objectives are:
the relief of poverty through Christian principles by the provision of accommodation, advice and assistance or any such other things as the trustees consider necessary for the achievement of the objects to persons in need who are either homeless, threatened with homelessness or have inadequate living arrangements.
It is proposed that upon merger of the two charities Bromley Churches Housing Action be renamed BromleyHomeless. The members shall consider and vote on the following resolution to this effect.
IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED THAT in accordance with clause 29 of the constitution, the organisation known as The Bromley Homeless Shelter, registered charity number 1163353, be DISSOLVED on such date as the trustees decide and all assets and liabilities held for the purposes of the charity be transferred on that date to Bromley Churches Housing Action formed under the charities Act 2011, registered charity number 1186655.
AND THIS RESOLUTION AUTHORISES THE CHARITY TRUSTEES OF THE EXISTING CHARITY
• To decide on the final legal and operational name of the merged entity (in conjunction with the trustees of Bromley Churches Housing Action);
• To incur such costs as shall be required to give effect to this resolution; and
• To sign such agreements and execute such deeds as are necessary to give effect of this transfer. Provided that, in case of assets held for restricted purposes, they shall ensure that similar restrictions are imposed when the assets are transferred to Bromley Churches Housing Action.
Trustees of LATCH and the Bromley Homeless Shelter, another local Christian-inspired charity helping local homeless people of all backgrounds, have held discussions on whether the two charities should merge. Please read the letter from the Chairs of the two charities below.
LATCH Covid-19 Statement
Every year, LATCH supports almost 300 vulnerable young people across the London Borough of Bromley and surrounding areas. All of them are in a cycle of hidden homeless and/or rough sleeping, or at risk of being homeless. We take the time to listen and offer guidance and advice. Our unique programme of supported accommodation in a host’s home within the Bromley borough is key for our clients to ensure they can stay connected with existing support networks and carry on working or studying, locally. Others benefit from an emergency crisis payment to help with food, mobile or travel card top-ups, and at the very least can be sign-posted or given a direct referral if they will be better supported by another organisation immersed in addressing a specific need.
We assist anyone aged 18 and over when they have nowhere and no one else to turn to. We provide one to one support, tailored to the individual’s needs, often co-delivered with other local agencies and charities. Our support can include access to get online, enabling essential ID documents to be ordered and benefit claims to be made; help with debt management, CV and letter writing, form filling, job and accommodation searches, as well as advocacy and accompany people to housing appointments. We also work with clients with the aim of getting them to the point of independent living, expanding capacity through the provision of trainings, workshops and counselling - activities reliant on grant funding.
As Covid-19 unfolds before us and uncertainty leaves many homeless people in limbo, we remain committed to supporting every service user and host with continued and regular contact. Most importantly, we remain highly receptive and accessible to new enquirers at this time of heightened anxiety and isolation. Their safety and sense of well-being is paramount and our staff are working extra hours to ensure our connections remain strong through this time. Today, we are seeing a surge in the numbers of people presenting as homeless or at risk of homelessness, many of them young school or college students. Now that schools and colleges have closed with businesses following suit, they are becoming more isolated in their homeless situations, than ever before. Suddenly, this is giving way to a more intense and fragile situation in households with the added pressure over risk of infection to the virus. Where relationships are frayed or under stress, the likelihood of a breakdown is now far greater. For those already away from home, sofa-surfing, the risks are even greater.
The ability to carry out our work relies solely on grants from trusts and foundations and donations made by individuals, local businesses, small groups and churches whose resources are under increasing strain, so raising money is becoming immensely challenging. Fundraising efforts and events have been cancelled indefinitely and understandably, everyone is distracted in these worrying times. The social disruption is impacting on the delivery of and demand for our service. Vitally, for those turning to LATCH for help, we want to be sure that we can be here, come what may. If you are able to make a donation today to support our vital work, any gift big or small will be making a difference to someone in need of help now - please donate here
Thank you for your support.
Learn More About How LATCH Responds to Hidden Homelessness
Raising visibility of LATCH and raising awareness for hidden homelessness is so important. We would welcome an opportunity to arrange a future date when we can speak at your school, college, church, organisation or small group. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more info - we look forward to meeting you soon.
Hosts' Information Morning - Cancelled
Regrettably, due to Covid19, this event has been cancelled. Please contact Lolly on 07399 861218 if you have a spare room and would like to know more about coming on board - Thank you.
We value the contributions of all our Hosts who come on board, eager to do what they can to make a difference in the lives of the hidden homeless. Today, we are pleased to say that we have 18 Hosts who play a vital and rewarding part in the work we do to support and house those who we can. LATCH help the single hidden homeless aged 18 and over because the risk of becoming homeless can apply to anyone. And our Hosts help us do just that by offering up a spare room in their home. Do You Have a Spare Room? Come along to our information morning to meet our staff & trustees and have the chance to meet existing hosts and clients, to hear about how they are support within their experience of working with homelessness and LATCH.
Chinese New Year 2020 - Year of The Rat
As usual our friends and supporters packed out The Peking Diner to enjoy the delicious 4-course eat-all-you-can Chinese New Year meal. We were joined by Mayoress Ruth Bennett and the evening was a great success raising £1898.50 in the process. As always, we thank Rita for the warm hospitality, fab service & food. The raffle was generously sponsored by friends and local businesses who so kindly continue to support the work we do to help & house the hidden homeless.
Christmas and the Kentones!
When new trustee Ann joined us we had no idea how connected and caring she is. Within a week, Ann had connected us with The Kentones male barber chorus are based in Orpington. We were thrilled to learn that a presentation about LATCH had been made to the board resulting in us being voted in as their Charity Of The Year 2019-2020. They provided shoppers at The Glades with such a treat of festive carols and old time favourites, supported by the Mayor of Bromley who has also chosen LATCH to be one of his two Charities Of The Year 2019-2020. Earlier on in the week Carers in Harmony also sang in aid of LATCH raising over £300 in just over an hour - marvellous! Thanks to one and all for making fundraising in 2019 so memorable!
Rock Choir - in aid of LATCH and CarePlus
This was such a fun and energetic fundraiser, courtesy of Rock Choir leader Michael Fricker and his members of Bromley, Bexley & PettsWood. In a little under two hours they whizzed through 18 songs, delighting our audience and getting everyone bopping along - Footloose was our favourite! Huge thanks for Fr Peter of St Joseph's RC church for allowing us to use their hall and fill 150 seats, raising an astonishing £3564.44, the proceeds of which were shared between the Mayor of Bromley's two Charities Of The Year - LATCH and CarePlus Bromley. Heartfelt thanks to Mayor Nicholas & Mayoress Ruth for joining us for the evening. We look forward to future fundraisers with CarePlus.