Report praises Crisis for its 'innovative' help for homeless
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing
Homelessness charity Crisis has been praised for its "major innovation" in providing education and employment support for homeless people.
The report from the highly respected Centre for Housing Policy at the University of York looked at education models around the world and concluded that Crisis has made "one of the most advanced and comprehensive attempts" at helping homeless people to re-enter society. It also highlights impressive achievements in getting people into secure paid work.
In 2012 and 2013, Crisis helped to secure 852 paid jobs, 3,904 exam passes and certificates and 1,191 training places across the country.
Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, said: "From years of experience we understand that everyone is different and everyone has different needs and abilities. We work hard to foster an inspirational environment that brings out the best in people.
"Homeless people cannot be rushed, forced or sanctioned back into society. Homelessness can be devastating for confidence and self-esteem and any support must take this into account or risk doing further harm to already vulnerable people."
The report shows that Crisis is achieving "major success" in helping homeless people learn and find work, with the charity’s focus on social integration representing a "major innovation" in service provision.
The research, led by Nicholas Pleace and Joanne Bretherton, is the first part of a three-year evaluation of Crisis. It draws on interviews with staff and 135 people who had used Crisis services. Clients’ views were overwhelmingly positive.
The interim results show that the key to Crisis’ success lies in the tailoring of support to individual needs, with an emphasis on choice and control and an environment of respect. The authors draw a sharp contrast with government initiatives such as the work programme which, the report notes, take "little or no account of individual need, opinions or choices".