Winchester Churches Nightshelter has provided a safe and caring temporary home to those experiencing homelessness since 1988. We remain the only Nightshelter offering emergency accommodation to single homeless men and women in Hampshire.
We open 365 days of the year and support, on average, between 100 – 150 people annually. We have ten bedrooms at our Jewry Street premises and an additional eight beds at our two supported housing projects in the local area. Our residents stay with us until more permanent accommodation is found to match their needs.
As well as accessing secure and comfortable accommodation and nutritious food, during their stay with us residents also benefit from a wide-ranging programme of practical and emotional support to help them break the cycle of homelessness and rebuild their lives.
Our core services include one-to-one advocacy; help and support with housing; budgeting and finances; assistance with benefits; practical aid with food and nutrition; guidance for anyone with substance misuse problems; counselling and psychotherapy plus much more.
Why is our service so vital?
Homelessness is on the increase across England. According to the latest figures from Homeless Link (published in 2021) rough sleeping estimates show an increase of 52% since 2010, with 2,688 people estimated to be sleeping rough on any one night. This figure doesn’t include the ‘hidden homeless’ or statutory homeless, so the real figure is probably much higher.
There is also an acute lack of housing support for those experiencing homelessness in Hampshire. We remain the only Nightshelter offering emergency access to single men and women in the county. Each year we are forced to turn away, on average, between 150 – 300 people due to lack of bed space.
This issue is compounded by a shortage of affordable housing locally. The average waiting time for a one-bed council property in Winchester for someone who is not in priority need is four years and four months, with the average cost of a one-bed private rental in central Winchester almost £800 (as of 2019).
Many of those who find themselves homeless are not only coping with a lack of housing but with a raft of other problems. There is no single reason why someone can end up without a home – personal circumstances and wider factors both play a role. The most common factors cited as contributing to homelessness are often complex and interlinked. They include relationship breakdown, mental and physical ill health, financial issues, unemployment and substance misuse. However individuals can arrive at the point of homelessness after a long chain of other life events.
Tackling homelessness effectively can only be achieved by partnership working and collaboration between charities and other organisations who can together address the wide-ranging and interlinked issues that relate to homelessness.
homeless people have attempted suicide
homeless people have a mental health problem
of ex-offenders who are homeless are re-convicted within 1 year
Our impact 2019-2020
- Our bed occupancy rate was 95%
- We accommodated 116 people
- 69% of our residents moved on to planned accommodation
- Residents stayed for an average of 75 nights
- We provided 297 hours of free counselling and psychotherapy
- For us, the most important result is helping our individual residents to transform their lives. The majority of our residents feel that we are doing a good job at this.