It’s a bittersweet anniversary for Crisis, the national homelessness charity.
They are marking five years since the opening of Crisis Skylight Croydon, their centre to support homeless people, or those at risk of becoming homeless.
Using a a disused furniture showroom on Surrey Street, in an ideal world, the need for Crisis’s centre would never have existed. Certainly there had been some hopes that Crisis Skylight Croydon might have only lasted perhaps a couple of years.
But levels of homelessness have been rising relentlessly in the years since 2010.
Now the staff and volunteers who help there see the demand for their services extending indefinitely, as they have encountered an increased of almost 20per cent in the numbers of people seeking help in recent months.
The centre offers services such as housing-related information, advice and guidance, as well as support to access affordable and secure housing, the opportunity to learn and gain new skills from a range of courses, access to psychological and trauma-informed therapy, and volunteering.
Their anniversary event included tours of the centre to show the facilities it offers people in need, and exhibitions of art and cooking given by people who had experienced homelessness and been helped by the centre.
Christine Eyers, the director of Crisis Skylight Croydon, said: “This is a slightly bittersweet occasion. We’re happy that we have been able to help many people experiencing homelessness in Croydon change their lives in the past five years. But we’re also disappointed that there is still a need for our services, when we believe homelessness can and must be ended for good.
“We’ve seen the number of people coming in grow by 15 to 20per cent in the last couple of months as well as an increase in the number of different reasons why they are seeking help.
“We’ve also seen an increase in members of the public wanting referrals to food banks and advice on their bills due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
“This shows our services are still desperately required so we will keep working to help those in need.”
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