Homelessness charity could close Coventry centre - The Coventry Observer

Homelessness charity could close Coventry centre

Coventry Editorial 8th Aug, 2023 Updated: 8th Aug, 2023   0

THOSE sleeping rough in the city could soon lose access to a vital hub of help after homelessness charity Crisis is set to close its Coventry centre amid rising costs, skyrocketing demand and reduced income.

And Crisis chief executive Matt Downie has warned these are very challenging times for the rest of the charity sector as many organisations struggle to stay afloat.

The Skylight Centre at James Brindley House near the Coventry Canal Basin is one of two national centres earmarked for closure by the charity.

Crisis is currently consulting with staff on the proposed changes, with redundancies also on the table.

The charity has already begun speaking with partners across Coventry and Warwickshire to ensure help would continue to be available for those affected by the proposed closure.

The Skylight Centre helps those sleeping rough find a rented home, find and apply for jobs and improve their mental well-being through activities such as museum visits and walks.

Much of this vital work is funded by donations from the public, but the cost-of-living crisis has meant fewer people have been able to support the charity while those who still can are giving less on average.

Matt Downie said: “As our fundraising income has declined, we’ve had to make a series of difficult choices.

“At every turn, we’ve prioritised protecting our frontline services and, over the last year, we’ve made savings in all other aspects of our work.

“This has sadly not been enough and so to ensure Crisis remains financially sustainable in the long-term we are now going through an organisation-wide restructure.

“Crisis exists to end homelessness, and this is something we never wanted to consider.

“Making redundancies and closing services is very difficult for us to contemplate and it’s not a proposal we’ve made lightly.”

Stats released earlier this year showed 13 people were estimated to be sleeping rough on Coventry’s streets on a single night last Autumn- only five of the West Midlands 30 local authorities had a higher figure.

Fellow homelessness charity Emmaus Coventry and Warwickshire said it fears these stats could be the ‘tip of the iceberg.’

Charity organisations including Coventry Foodbank have also reported unprecedented demand for its services in 2023, while Clothing Coventry is currently working to secure enough funds to keep its warehouse open beyond the end of the year.


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