Porchlight Hubs: Why community is so important to helping homeless people
9 July 2019
Homeless people often have complex needs. The first step in helping people rebuild their lives is supporting them with these issues.
Porchlight residents used to receive emotional and practical support in our hostels. We’re changing the way this works.
If you’ve experienced homelessness or struggled with your mental health, it’s easy to become cut off from others. So we are moving the emotional and practical support element of what we do into Porchlight ‘hubs’ which are based in the heart of the community.
Our ‘hubs’ will be located in community spaces like community centres and leisure centres. We know that local communities can be a vital support network and we want to break down barriers between communities and the people we support.
At the hubs, people can access the support offered by Porchlight and our partners – whether that’s meeting with their keyworker, learning new skills, getting employment advice or something else. They’ll also be able to get involved with other activities taking place there, such as exercise classes, art activities or cultural events.
We know that developing new hobbies and trying new activities encourages people we support to push themselves and achieve new goals.
Encouraging residents to leave their hostel and to come out into the community also brings new sense of responsibility. This can help people make progress with personal issues. Community hubs will help people feel less afraid about eventually stepping away from our support.
Homelessness is the ultimate form of exclusion, so making people feel included and worthy of playing a role in their community is so important.
It’s also about helping community centres, and the community as a whole, to become more accessible to vulnerable people. We’ll provide training and guidance to owners of the spaces where our ‘hubs’ are based to help make this happen.
Currently, Porchlight has two community ‘hubs’ and we are hoping to open more all across Kent.