Crisis's plan to widen influence


Homelessness charity Crisis is providing substantial start-up funding for 10 national cutting-edge projects in a bid to widen its influence and transform national homelessness services.

Crisis has provided piecemeal funding in the past but this is the first time it has been involved in a consolidated funding scheme.

Business start-up finance for homeless people and a project giving homeless people access to computers are just two of a raft of partnership schemes kicking off this summer and autumn which aim to provide tailor-made services for homeless people.

The Searching for Innovation initiative fits in with the charity's aim of concentrating on the hidden homeless through a renewed emphasis on psycho-social support. It forms part of a wider raft of new services at Crisis to be announced shortly.

Crisis chief executive Shaks Ghosh said: "The homelessness sector has been going through a period of change. Some of the old solutions are becoming a bit out of date - we need new solutions, and these are not going to come to us by sitting in the Crisis office, but rather through working with other agencies to capture good practice and innovation."

Partner organisations Ground-swell, Alone in London, Peter Bedford Housing Association, Providence Row, London Connection, Thames Reach Bondway and Aspire will get between £5,000 and £50,000 to start up new projects with existing and new staff. Crisis will evaluate the schemes, which are funded for a year, to see if they can be rolled out nationally or shape national service provision.

One London-based scheme provides homeless people with cash for training or for starting up their own businesses. One of the first participants has already set up his own dog-grooming service. Another supports job returnees through a "buddy

who accompanies them into work and provides support to their employer.

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