One woman’s life transformed by London homelessness charity

By Keith Fernett, Chief Executive of Caritas Anchor House

Caritas Anchor House is a residential and life-skills centre for single homeless adults, based in the London Borough of Newham.

They act as a beacon of hope to those who need it most in their community, and offer a home and support to up to 250 homeless people every year. By providing education, guidance and personal rehabilitation, they support their residents to grow in confidence and move towards leading independent, self-fulfilling lives.

One person who they have supported to transform their life is Roseann.

When Roseann left her abusive partner in 2000, she spent the following 15 years homeless, and was forced to sleep on the streets, on buses, in hospital toilets and on sofas to get by. Feeling alone and vulnerable, Roseann started taking drugs as an attempt to escape her reality.

She repeatedly approached the local authority for help, but did not meet the priority need for emergency accommodation. However in October 2015, help came when Roseann she was referred and accepted into Caritas Anchor House.

Since joining Caritas Anchor House, her life has gone from strength to strength. Roseann has built up her confidence and actively engages with education and training and wellbeing services provided. With support from Caritas Anchor House and substance misuse treatment with Change, Grow, Live, she has been abstinent from drugs for over a year.

The future for Roseann is looking bright. She has recently moved into Caritas Anchor House’s newly built move-on flats, designed to aid the transition from homelessness to sustained, independent living. In addition, and due to her previous experience as a support worker, Roseann has recently been appointed as a Trainee Lifestyle Architect in their Personal Development Team.

“The support I have received at Caritas Anchor House has kept me focused and has given me my life back. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead for me now, and am hopeful, as a Trainee Lifestyle Architect, I can now do for someone else what Caritas Anchor House did for me.”

Roseann is just one of so many people that Caritas Anchor House has supported. They work with vulnerable groups including those affected by homelessness, unemployment, mental health, substance misuse, domestic abuse and offending. Despite being based in Newham, one of the most deprived areas in the country and a borough where one in 27 people are homeless – the second highest in the country – they continue to achieve great things. In the year to March 2016 they offered a home to 213 people, supported 66 into independent living and 38 into employment.

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