Changing Lives, previously known as Tyneside Cyrenians, was set up in the 1970s to run a soup kitchen.
It now provides services across a large part of the North of England including the provision of emergency accommodation for homeless people, support services to people with drug and alcohol addictions, outreach support to vulnerable people and support for women fleeing domestic violence. It also runs a number of social enterprises and manages a portfolio of properties.
Housing security is often the biggest single factor in breaking long-term cycles of unemployment, homelessness, social isolation and exclusion. Through its Homelife programme, Changing Lives provides homes for people who would otherwise struggle to be housed in private or council tenancies. Changing Lives has been bringing empty, abandoned properties back into use using its own construction company to provide its clients with good quality, affordable rented accommodation.
The Foundation awarded a grant of £50,000 to Changing Lives towards the cost of the tenancy support team who match the charity’s clients with a home and then help them manage the property.
This year, Changing Lives supported Oscar* to move into a property with his five year old son. Oscar, who has been in and out of prison for most of his life, came to Changing Lives after his last discharge from prison when he was homeless and seeking help to overcome his addictions. Oscar successfully completed the Changing Lives recovery programme and was awarded custody of his son. Oscar was determined he was going to make “a good job” of looking after his son and not go back into prison again. He wanted to give his son the stability he had never had. Oscar is doing an excellent job caring for his son and providing him with a safe, stable and well looked after home.
“Changing Lives have been behind me for the past four years when I really needed help and support. At first they provided me with hostel accommodation and helped me to get my head straight and, after going through their recovery programme, I got custody of my son. We have lived in our Homelife property for almost a year and I really feel that my life is getting sorted and I’m back on track. It’s hard being a single Dad, but I enjoy looking after my son”.
As a landlord, Changing Lives is able to improve living conditions for vulnerable tenants by offering a secure tenancy, thereby providing people and their families with a safe and secure long-term home. In the process, empty properties are brought back into use and more stable communities are created.
You can find out more about Changing Lives via their website.
*Names have been changed to protect the individual concerned.