October 10, 2023
Today, 10th October, is both World Homeless Day and Mental Health Day. At the Cardinal Hume Centre we’re serious about getting under the skin of the housing crisis. Our work focuses on preventing young people and children from experiencing poverty and homelessness, and reducing it's impact on their health and wellbeing as early as possible.
Right now, inner London faces a child poverty and homelessness challenge. In Westminster, where the Centre is based, one in four children live in poverty. 3,600 children are homeless and living in temporary accommodation – a 26% increase in just two years. Although temporary accommodation is meant to be ‘temporary’, a lack of affordable housing means that households can sometimes be stuck in poor quality conditions for years, often moved outside of the borough, severing connections with family, friends and schools and leaving a lasting mark on the families' wellbeing.
The biggest indicator of future homelessness risk as an adult is poverty as a child. We believe everyone should have a full life, but we know that homelessness and poverty can wreck that potential. Homelessness and poor housing is both a cause and consequence of poverty. Homelessness and mental health are inextricably linked:
We are living a very unsettled life… It’s disorganising mentally and emotionally in every way. I hope to get out [of temporary accommodation] as soon as possible.
It’s not enough for five families. It’s… very depressing... they treat us like children. Constantly behind you with you room checks - you are living on someone else’s terms.
Two clients, interviewed as part of our research in to the impact of temporary accommodation
Cardinal Hume built the Centre to listen to young people, children and families – and advocate for those lost in stretched and underfunded systems. At the Centre we celebrate the strength of all our clients, and their successes and achievements. In Summer 2023 we invited all the people we had worked with in the previous year to share their opinions on our services and their impact. Of 210 respondents, 84% told us they feel less worried about their own or their families’ future.
Speaking at an open evening in 1994, Cardinal Basil Hume said: “Each person matters. No human life is ever redundant.” In such difficult times, we always come back to this belief; it grounds all of the Centre’s work.
You too can be a part of an amazing team helping individuals and families overcome poverty.
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