Huge funding boost for Catholic homelessness charity

Caritas Anchor House building

Catholic homelessness charity, Caritas Anchor House, has secured over £93,000 from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund to continue and enhance its vital work with people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic.

The funding, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, will support the charity to help up to 300 people to move on from homelessness through the provision of accommodation and personalised support. Caritas Anchor House is based in the London Borough of Newham, which has the highest levels of homelessness in the country and one of the highest mortality rates as a result of Covid-19.

The funding will allow the charity to employ a resettlement worker to enhance its response to the ongoing housing crisis in Newham. Due to the national lockdown, many residents have been unable to move on from Caritas Anchor House in the past few months despite being ready to do so. This new role in the resettlement team will enable staff to support more residents through the move-on process, creating space for new arrivals. Over 200 homeless individuals are currently being housed in hotels in Newham as part of the government’s Everybody In scheme, so these bed spaces will be crucial in accommodating them in the coming months.

The funding will also provide additional night-time staff to support residents with challenging and high-risk behaviours, particularly those who have been rough sleeping. These staff are essential in promoting safe and secure spaces at Caritas Anchor House.

Additionally, the funding will help fund enhanced cleaning for the building as Caritas Anchor House continues to operate as a 24/7 residential and life skills centre, one of the largest in the country. The enhanced cleaning has meant that, to date, there have been no cases of Covid-19 within the resident group – no mean achievement in a borough which has been one of the hardest hit.

Lockdown had a significant impact on life at Caritas Anchor House, but this funding will help staff to mitigate the risks of Covid-19 in the longer term.

James McNicholas, Trust Manager at Caritas Anchor House, said: “This support from DCMS and the National Lottery Community Fund is hugely significant in allowing us to continue to provide a safe service to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”

Anthony has been a resident at Caritas Anchor House throughout the lockdown period. He said: “Being here at Caritas Anchor House has made lockdown a lot easier for me. I can self-isolate whenever I choose to in a safe environment and there are food donations that come in every day. It’s been a very good support network here and it’s lowered my fears of catching coronavirus.”

Anthony's story