On Friday 10th September, Changing Lives launched its Leading from the Front Door initiative, calling for a housing-led approach to homelessness. The initiative was revealed at the official opening of Bentinck Terrace.
Changing Lives was joined by Baroness Louise Casey, who performed the official opening of the first large-scale hostel accommodation to be converted into individual apartments. Baroness Casey was joined on stage by Baroness Hilary Armstrong, Changing Lives’ CEO Stephen Bell and Bentinck Terrace Project Lead Alan Hodgson.
At Changing Lives, we believe that homelessness should only ever be a short transition in someone’s life and we therefore want an approahc to homelessness that moves people into their own accommodation with their own front door at the earliest possible point. An analysis of the experience of people using our homelessness services in the past three years shows that giving them their own living space makes them three times more likely to successfully move on to independent living and that the time they spend in the homelessness system is reduced by a staggering 70%.
Stephen Bell OBE, said: “We are committed to developing a system and service that is best for the people we support and helps to give them the best possible change to move forward in life. We believe that everyone should have their own front door and safe space to call home.
“The redevelopment of Bentinck Terrace completely changes the way we offer homelessness support in Newcastle, focusing on quality not quantity. We are looking to provide a nurturing environment that can make a real impact on residents’ lives rather than simply provide a bed for the night.”
Alan Hodgson, Project Lead, said: “The project has only been open a few weeks but we are already seeing some amazing results. We have had three residents successfully move into their own private rented tenancy after receiving support at Bentinck Terrace.
“It’s amazing to see how a positive environment can have such a big impact on the people we support. We are seeing people engaging in other services and making real changes. Residents are seeing that they can have a lovely home of their own and it is giving them hope for their future.”
Beth, a current resident at Bentinck Terrace, said: “I’ve got my own space and independence here, but I know I’ve also got the support I need. It’s a lovely safe space and when my door closes, I can be in my own little world to do my painting and chill out, something I felt I could never do when I was living in shared hostels. It gives you the time and the privacy to just be you and work on yourself. It feels like home. I couldn’t know the support I’ve been given here.”
To find out more about the Leading from the Front Door initiative, download the briefing pack here.