Our Community Impact award recognises Charity Bank borrowers that have made a significant positive impact on their local community or the community they serve through the work they do.
In 1973, several members of the Leicester community decided to act in the face of rising numbers of homeless people in the city. They opened a small night shelter, and Action Homeless was born.
The charity has gradually grown its activities, tackling homelessness and its causes over the past 45 years. Now it operates throughout the city and is committed to improving the lives of those affected by homelessness in the long term.
Building on its roots providing crisis accommodation, Action Homeless opened further hostels and temporary accommodation. These not only provide shelter but also offer a range of support services to address the associated issues – such as substance misuse, mental health problems and social exclusion – that contribute to homelessness.
In 2013, Action Homeless entered a new phase of its operations and began to purchase and redevelop empty properties in Leicester to provide safe, long-term housing. It committed to secure 100 bed spaces by the end of 2018 and currently has 72, all of which are occupied by tenants who were previously homeless. This has been a significant achievement for the charity, bringing them one step closer to their goal of breaking the cycle of homelessness.
The number of people helped by Action Homeless increases yearly. In 2017, 502 people were accommodated across 157 bed spaces (a 34% increase from 2012).
The charity also provides other wide-reaching services, such as Food Stop, a food bank that helps over 2,500 people each year, and a telephone support service which aims to prevent homelessness and receives calls from over 1,200 people each year. Its social enterprise Action Trust provides cleaning and maintenance services to the Action Homeless properties and works to employ previously homeless people. Since it began in 2012, it has provided full-time employment to seven people who have experienced homelessness.
Action Homeless plans to continue its move towards providing accommodation and support that has long-term impact. One of its original crisis hostels, Mayfield House, will be redeveloped in line with the Housing First model to provide permanent, affordable accommodation to people experiencing homelessness. This will further increase the charity’s capacity to work on long-term reintegration into society for people affected by homelessness.
The charity is also working with World Habitat on a collaborative initiative to eradicate rough sleeping in Leicester as part of the European End Street Homelessness Campaign.
Charity Bank loans are supporting Action Homeless to purchase properties for the development of its long-term housing initiative.