Due to the pandemic, last season the shelter operated as a ‘static model’, using a local hotel. This meant that the guests had their own individual bedrooms and remained in one venue for the duration of their stay with us. This would have not been possible without exceptional funding made available via the Homeless Winter Transformation Fund, so a huge thanks to all involved. It allowed us to safely keep working with the marginalised in the cold winter months.
This winter (2022/23) we are returning to the rotating church model and we know our churches are excited about opening their doors once more. The shelter will run for 7 months, from October to April 2023.
Guests are referred to GrowTH by Tower Hamlets based referral agencies, such as day centres like Crisis Skylight, and a local GP surgery. As well as the wonderful support and love given by our volunteers, guests also receive resettlement help from our employed Advocate Workers, with a focus on securing more permanent accommodation.
GrowTH offers a holistic response to homelessness, and so opportunities are provided to guests to take part in short Bible studies, to receive prayer, or to simply chat about faith and the big questions in life. Many choose to engage, although of course, this is always optional.
Last season we ran from November 2021 – March 31st 2022. Below is a snap shot of a few of our outcomes:
GrowTH facilitates the churches to provide hospitality and care to those in crisis. Although the GrowTH staff team manage the referrals and oversee the running of the shelter, the churches do much of the legwork. They open their doors, assemble teams of volunteers, and provide a warm welcome, hot meals, and a clean bed for our guests. It’s a huge task, involving well over 1,000 people over the past decade, and close to 100,000 volunteer hours. We are so pleased that more churches have joined this mission each year since we began.
Our vision is to see guests’ lives transformed. Practically, this looks like breaking the cycle of homelessness. Each guest in the night shelter is allocated an employed Advocate Worker. These workers ‘get alongside’ the guests, aim to understand why they are homeless, and work with them to help them access the most appropriate available support and accommodation. This process can include:
Typical permanent accommodation options include: Shared supported housing, hostels, a flat in the private-rented sector, rehabilitation centres, returning to family either in the UK or abroad and accommodation for asylum seekers.