10 October 2018 - WORLD HOMELESS DAY
Everyday is world homeless day but this is the one day in which the world truly comes together in solidarity for all those who are facing the lonely and isolating struggle of homelessness. LATCH is welcoming everyone, especially the homeless to our HQ here in the Bromley URC today, to have a cuppa and some cake with us. The kettle is on, the appointment book is open; we can have a chat about your story or simply what's happening with homelessness, wherever you are in Bromley. All are welcome. Find out more here at WorldHomelessDay.org
Other related stories, today: Hidden Homeless At Higher Risk of Abuse or Exploitation Single mothers 'hit hard by homelessness' Almost 150 deaths in NI while waiting for housing How the homeless can give back and help others - Paul's Story
8 October 2018 - Charities condemn ‘horrifying’ number of deaths on streets and in shelters
Read the article here
LATCH PROJECT (BCHA) - Annual General Meeting
This took place on 27th June and we welcome Julia Poulter as newly elected Chair of BCHA. After 10 years, Rev. Duncan Aitkins resigned as Chair and we wish to thank him for all his hard work and commitment on behalf of LATCH Project BCHA, particularly since his connection to Bromley Churches’ Housing Actions spans over 20 years. We would also like to thank all the trustees who have stood down, for their support over the last year. Julia is joined by a host of other new and returning trustees which the LATCH team looks forward to working with to ensure the project moves from strength to strength in the coming year.
In the last year, our outreach and work to raise new awareness of the project has impacted homelessness in the borough of Bromley and surrounding areas, substantially. The number of its Clients getting housed has increased 10-fold which is facilitated by the recruitment of the same number in Hosts not only in Bromley but also in the neighbouring boroughs of Lewisham and Croydon and this work will continue unabated. The value in forming working partnerships with local groups and organisations along with other third sector agencies is fundamental in enabling the community to respond to the plight of young and old people experiencing homelessness, who often have no real sense of belonging due to the prolonged and numbing uncertainty of their situation.
We take this opportunity to thank everyone for engaging with us. Particularly, we are indebted to every individual, organisation, trust & foundation who has supported us and continues to do so through the generosity of interest and concern, charitable donations and volunteer work.
Lolly Bell (Project Manager)
First Hosts' Social - Cheese & Wine
The start of something beautiful ♥. All our Hosts come on board, eager to do what they can to make a difference in the lives of the hidden homeless. Often they have been "toying" with the very serious idea of opening their home up to a complete stranger, for week and months...even years! Today, we are proud to say that we have 21 Hosts without whom it would be impossible for us to do what we claim to do. LATCH aims to help the single hidden homeless aged 18 and over because we recognise that the risk of becoming homeless doesn't just apply to 18-25s - it never has. And our lovely Hosts help us do just that by offering up a spare room in their home. Here's just a handful of the very kind and hugely appreciated people who attended our First Hosts' Social - a chance to meet one another, exchange stories and find support within their experience of working with homelessness.
"It's been lovely getting to know other Hosts. We've shared and made new friends so I hope we can do it again, soon. This is a great initiative, thank you LATCH" - Liz, Host of 21 years
22 amazing LATCH supporters came out on Wednesday night to beat the Beast of the East....
...and to sample the delicious 4-course eat-all-you-can Chinese New Year meal at The Peking Diner in Burnt Ash Lane. The evening was a great success and raised £594 in the process. Thank you Rita for the warm hospitality, fab service & food. The raffle was generously sponsored by friends and local businesses including Stella & Dot, Boots of Bromley, Waitrose of Burnt Ash Lane, Sainsbury's Bromley and the Peking Diner!
LATCH Chair Duncan Aitkins & Mayor Kathy Bance
Thanks to all our speakers including Patrick Mulrenan, Senior Lecturer from London Met Uni and the team from Bromley NHS CCG, Daniel and Juliana who are transforming the way we look and handle mental health in the borough.
We are so proud of all our clients and hosts, alike, who contributed so openly to give us an insight into the emotional and psychological impact of being homeless and how this compares to present day, following the intervention and help of organisations such as LATCH and Bromley Homeless Shelter.
Special thanks to Tamasha Restaurant of Widmore Road for sponsoring us with the most delicious curry and samosas which were a most welcome addition to the evening for our guests, including Mayor Kathy Bance, who we will look forward to inviting back as Councillor for future lively discussions and debate!
27 September 2017 - LONDON ASSEMBLY REPORT RELEASE Homeless and hidden from help – London’s secret homelessness problem
- A new report out today estimates there are thirteen times more hidden homeless people in London than those sleeping rough - as many as 12,500 each night.
- 225,000 young people in London have stayed in an unsafe place because they had nowhere safe to call home.
- The hidden homeless have no place to call home, but are hidden from official statistics, and aren’t receiving support.
- They may experience sofa surfing, sleeping rough, squatting or sleeping on public transport. This can be dangerous, and leave people at risk of assault or abuse.
- Young people are especially likely to be affected, particularly those who identify as LGBT, as well as those who have experienced domestic violence and abuse.
- Hidden homeless people are often ineligible for homelessness support, and only one in five aged 16-24 seek help from the council. Those that do present often fail to be people, asylum seekers and people escaping domestic violence can find it hard to get help due to gaps in current policies, and many don’t even try to seek help. So-called sofa surfing is common and people can end up staying with virtual strangers where they are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.
Read the report on our website here.
KPMG Report March 2017
In a recent report by KPMG, entitled Reimagining Housing, the vulnerabilities of the young and old are addressed, sensitively and meaningfully.
Discounted Accommodation For The Young - In the UK. 2 million people over 75 live alone - and whilst many have the desire and the ability to stay in their homes, problems of loneliness, ill health and vulnerability to crime are common. Many have spare rooms - representing housing stock wasted at a time of great accommodation shortages - and might welcome the companionship, security and support provided by a young lodger. Read the full report by clicking on this PDF link >> KPMG reimagine-housing-web-v4
BBC News April 2017 - Rising rents creating more homeless "Research by BBC London has found that the number of households made homeless due to private rented sector evictions has increased 600% since 2010, with increasing rents and cuts to benefits blamed for the surge. Councils have also increased spending on placing the homeless into temporary accommodation by an average of 60% over the same period. The number of families being made statutorily homeless in London stands at a 10-year high.”
Homelessness Sunday 2017
For more information on Homeless Sunday please follow the link.
SIXTY YEARS for the average Londoner to afford a flat in Bromley, figures reveal ~The Bromley Times. A lack of affordable housing is leading to homelessness, charity claims Click here for the full article.
Thank you Tamasha Restaurant and the Rotary Club for nominating us for The Giraffe Trail. A big thank you to Green Street Green school for decorating our giraffe and helping us win first prize and £100. We are now in the process of auctioning it.
On the 7th of June 2016, the office attended the Community Links Bromley's ninth Volunteer Awards ceremony at the Bromley Central Library. The event celebrated volunteering and voluntary activity by recognising the valuable input volunteers make to their local communities.
Our very own volunteer, Fabienne Brazzill won an award during the night in recognition of all the hard work she does for us.
It was a lovely evening organised by Community Links with good food and good company.
Congratulations to all the other winners of the night.
Donations from Lush - Thank you to Lush Bromley for its donations of soaps for our clients.
Three-Times More Homeless Young People Rely On Services Than Govt Records Show
More than three times as many homeless young people a year are estimated to be relying on charities and councils for a roof over their heads across the UK than officially recorded by the government, according to new research by the University of Cambridge, commissioned by the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint.
An estimated that 83,000 homeless 16-24 year-olds relied on the support of councils and charities in the UK in 2013-14, the last complete year of available data, compared to just 26,852 recorded by statutory homelessness figures compiled by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and authorities in the devolved nations.
- Over 83,000 homeless young people have been accommodated by local authorities or homelessness services during 2013-14
- Nine per cent of UK young people have slept in an ‘outside’ place in the last year, including on the street, in car parks or parks, because they had nowhere else to go
- 26% of UK young people have slept in an unsafe place because they had nowhere else to go. This equates to an estimated 1.3m young people aged 16 to 24
- 35% of UK young people have experience of sofa surfing which would suggest over a million nationally
Hostels were found to be almost always full or over-subscribed, with around 35,000 young people in homeless accommodation at any one time across the UK.
The government’s official homelessness statistics only record the number of homeless young people local authorities have a statutory duty to house – which in England, Wales and Northern Ireland includes only those in ‘priority need’ such as young parents, under-18s or care leavers.
As a result, thousands of young people who do not fit the narrow categories go unrecorded, even if they have been rough sleeping - the most widely recognised manifestation of homelessness.
We had a very successful and well attended Annual General Meeting on 12th May with guest speaker, Ed Tree from the Bromley Homeless Shelter.
We are all really looking forward to the future of the LATCH Project.
Lloyds Bank Community Fund
A big thanks to all our supporters who voted for us in the Lloyds Bank Community Fund. During the public vote, 4,375 votes were cast and we came 2nd in the public vote, winning £2k.
This money will make such a difference and will enable LATCH to continue finding safe homes for 16 to 25 year old's in the London Borough of Bromley.
The Lloyds Bank Community Fund was set up to help local people across England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and Isle of Man to have a positive impact at the heart of their community by giving grants to 1,400 local good causes in 350 communities.
Nearly 1.5 million votes were cast for good causes across the country during the voting that took place between 2 September and 10 October. Over 700,000 people will be benefit either directly or indirectly from the good work the 1,400 good causes across the country will be able to deliver as a result of receiving a Community Fund 2014 award.
Big Lottery Funding
The LATCH Project recently received grant funding from the Big Lottery Fund to provide Moving in Starter Packs for all new clients.
The starter packs consist of bed linen, bedding, toiletries and towels. As a result of this funding we can now also supply our clients with basic living appliances and kitchen utensils when they move onto independent living.
Natasha was one of our first clients to benefit from the Big Lottery grant. Natasha came to LATCH in November 2010 as her family moved to Devon and she wanted to stay in Bromley to continue her education. Once placed with a LATCH host, Natasha started having mentoring sessions with Positive Pete and started working full time in a betting shop. Natasha did so well that she was put forward for her own property with Affinity Sutton and in August 2014 she moved into her own, one bedroom flat.
In October this year, Natasha was delighted to receive various kitchen utensils and household items from LATCH.
Natasha is a different person now to the one we first met. She took all the support she was offered by LATCH and has become a confident, independent young woman.
Sainsbury's Local Charity
We are delighted to announce that Sainsbury's in Beckenham recently chose The LATCH Project as its local charity partner. Earlier this year, Sainsbury's customers nominated their favourite local charities and LATCH was chosen after Nici Moran, LATCH Director and three other charity finalists gave a presentation to the Sainsbury's Local Charity Committee Panel. Sainsbury's, Beckenham will support LATCH over the next 12 months through fundraising & volunteering.
Evening Standard (October 2014) - Charities' vital help for homeless
In response to the article, Welfare cuts ‘leave councils with huge bill to put families in hotels’, please click here to read LATCH's letter to the Editor of the Evening Standard.