Love Black Country have been tracking what God is doing to help homeless people in Wolverhampton for a number of years now. From small beginnings as an emergency night shelter, to the development of working relationships with other homeless services in the city, it is clear that God is doing something about homelessness in Wolverhampton. Earlier this month saw the official launch of Enterprise Homes Group, a strategic, joined up approach to making homelessness history in The Black Country’s only city. We’re delighted to welcome guest contributor and Enterprise Homes Group’s CEO Matt Lambert to share with our readers about the progress being made to make homelessness history in Wolverhampton.
If we are to make homelessness history together, then we have to make sure that NO-ONE gets left behind. That includes people who have lost all sense of hope and each day is just a matter of survival. If there was an easy answer as to how to tackle this, then we would already be on the case with bells on! Until now we have had so much need to address that our time has been taken up working with the more motivated, less complicated individuals where the biggest difference can be made with the least effort.
At our partnership meeting of the Wolverhampton Church Shelter on Wednesday, some of these issues surfaced again. Anna from the Refugee Migrant Centre was asking for help in tackling some of these issues because she desperately wants to do more than she is currently for the individuals who seem to be the hardest to help. This started up a conversation that is rather open ended as there are no easy answers or quick fixes. What was remarkable was that we are actually starting to find and make time to think about these issues.
Over the past three years, so much progress has been made and so many individuals helped that we can take time together to come up with new ideas and think through new approaches:
It is on the back of so many success stories that we can take time to work together strategically to look at how to do more. These successes are also the behind Wolverhampton Council’s nomination of an award specifically linked to the work in the city in tackling rough-sleeping. And it would also seem that word is getting out in the wider region. The number of individuals coming to Wolverhampton because they have heard on the grapevine that help is available here, is significantly on the rise too.
When I first started out in the sector in Wolverhampton, this was definitely not the case. Often the only option to assist someone who had fallen on hard times was to suggest sending them to a hostel in Birmingham. Now instead they are coming to us and for good reason.
idea that has come out of all of this is bringing people who have been there before, back into our services to support those who are still without hope. We want to show them that it can be done and if someone who was where they are, has managed to move on, why should that not be possible for them. Another aspect is the relational approach of telling them that we genuinely believe in them and that they can make it. It is finding ways to bring back a glimmer of hope like a pilot light that in due course will burst into flame.
We are still a long way off transforming these initial thoughts into structured success but together we are exploring ground where we have not gone before. This points that we are on a journey to make homelessness history and that this is achievable through collaboration, partnership and a joined up strategic approach.