|This article relies on references to primary sources. (August 2012)|
|Focus||Delivering services to and campaigning for change on behalf of single homeless people in the UK.|
|Slogan||Homelessness ends here|
Crisis is the UK national charity for single homeless people. The charity offers year-round education, employment, housing and well-being services from centres in London, Newcastle, Oxford, Edinburgh and Merseyside, called Crisis Skylight Centres.
As well as year-round services Crisis runs Crisis at Christmas, which since 1972 has been offering food, warmth, companionship and vital services to homeless people over the Christmas period. In 2010 almost 3,000 homeless people visited Crisis at Christmas, which was run by about 8,000 volunteers.
Since its inception Crisis has been a campaigning organisation, lobbying government for political change that prevents and mitigates homelessness based on research commissioned and undertaken by the organisation.
Crisis was founded in 1967 in response to the Ken Loach film Cathy Come Home shown the previous year, and a publicity campaign led by reforming Conservatives William Shearman and Ian Macleod highlighting the plight of homeless people.
Since the sixties Crisis has evolved to meet the changing needs of single homeless people, campaigning for change and delivering services to help people find a route out of their homelessness across the UK.
Crisis Skylight Centres
Crisis Skylight Centres are accredited education, training and employment centres, offering practical and creative workshops in supportive and inspiring environments, together with formal learning opportunities that lead to qualifications and finding work.
Crisis Skylight London opened in 2002, with a Crisis Skylight Cafe social enterprise opening on the same site on Commercial Street in East London in 2004. In 2007 Crisis Skylight Newcastle opened its doors, followed by Crisis Skylight Birmingham and Crisis Skylight Edinburgh in 2010 and Crisis Skylight Oxford and Crisis Skylight Merseyside in 2011.
Crisis at Christmas
Since 1972 Crisis at Christmas has been offering food, warmth, companionship and services to homeless people in London over the Christmas period. The project is run almost entirely by around 8,000 volunteers, making it the largest volunteer-led event in the UK. In 2010 saw about 3,000 homeless people come through the doors. All buildings used as Crisis at Christmas Centres are temporarily donated.
Services offered to homeless people at Christmas include healthcare, opticians, podiatry, dentistry, natural healing and hairdressing.
Crisis campaigns to improve the lives of single homeless people, working to prevent people from becoming homeless and advocating solutions informed by research and direct experience. Crisis is the leading voice for single homeless people in the UK.
No One Turned Away
In October 2011 Crisis launched a campaign to improve the assistance and support provided by Local Authorities to single homeless people.
Currently, most single homeless people are not considered to be in ‘priority need’ for social housing, meaning that the council has no duty to find them accommodation.
Crisis is calling for a new legal duty on local authorities so that all homeless people have the right to meaningful written advice, assistance and emergency accommodation when they need it.
In December 2011 the campaign saw some success as the Housing Minister, Grant Shapps, announced £20m of funding to help councils tackle single homelessness.
Single people aged under 25 who live in the private rented sector are only entitled to the Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) of Housing Benefit, equivalent to the rent for a single room in a shared house rather than the rate for a self-contained one bedroom property.
In 2011 the Government set out plans to extend this lower rate to all claimants under the age of 35.
Crisis campaigned against this extension and in July 2011 the Government announced two key exemptions from the plans; people who have lived in a homeless hostel for more than three months and ex-offenders who continue to pose a risk to others are now exempt from the Shared Accommodation Rate.
Housing benefit cuts
In June 2010, the Government announced plans for a 10 per cent cut in housing benefit for anyone on Jobseekers' Allowance for more than a year. Crisis argued that single homeless people would be the hardest hit because they would not be entitled to any other income support from the state - other than their Jobseeker's Allowance. Forced to make up the shortfall in Housing Benefit with a substantial proportion of their dole money, the amount left for food, clothing and energy would rapidly decrease.