Admissions policies could harm shelters
Homeless shelters are concerned new guidelines on their admissions policies could damage their work with vulnerable clients.
A report from Homeless Link recommends winter shelters run by London churches and faith groups produce clear guidelines on who they will accommodate and why. The charity wants shelters to share these guidelines with external agencies.
But the shelters are worried setting these down will mean they can’t admit people on a case-by-case basis, and may change their relationship with those they care for.
Mark Brennan, project co-ordinator of CARIS Islington’s cold weather shelter said: ‘We invite people to our shelters as guests rather than clients, so they feel they have chosen to be here. If we set out lists saying who we don’t want to be here, that changes the whole dynamic.’
Alison Gelder, chief executive of Housing Justice, said she welcomed the report: ‘We have discussed the findings with some of the co-ordinators of the shelters, who have given very positive feedback. It’s great to have the work and the value of the shelters recognised.’
But she also said: ‘Some of the shelters are very strong and well funded and some are very fragile: in terms of getting them to write fixed guidelines, that could damage them.
‘They might feel under pressure from external agencies to take particular people just because they fit with the guidelines.’