Homeless by Jim Fischer

Member Article

Housing shelter experiences influx from squeezed middle

Redundancies in the South East have led to an increase in demand for one homeless organisation

Open House runs a hostel and a day centre which in 2008 saw 12,324 individuals needing their services - a figure which jumped to 15,000 during the last financial year. As well as a rise in numbers, the charity have seen the types of people asking for help changing, as more professional, middle-class individuals and families use the services on offer.

In March 2012 Open House, which has 24 beds had to turn down 2,513 requests for accommodation.

Director of Crawley Open House Peter Mansfield-Clark MBE said “An increasing number of clients are now coming from white collar and middle class workers who’s lives have fallen apart because of the recession.

“They have lost their businesses, their well paid jobs and because of the stress, their families have broken up and they have ended up on the streets”

Between November 2011 and January 2012, according to the Office of National Statistics’ Labour Market Statistics released this month, 39,625 people over the age of 16 were employed and 1,665 people over the age of 16 were unemployed in the South East of England.

Crawley Community Resources Centre was set up in 1982 to provide an advice and resource centre for those suffering from the effects of homelessness, unemployment, loneliness and discrimination. In 1996 a merger between the hostel and resource centre formed Crawley Open House.

Between 1994 and 2006, the hostel supported over 3,000 hostel residents, a number not much larger than the number turned away earlier this year.

Peter said: “We find that the more successful a persons life has been the less they are able to cope with homelessness as they have never had to cope with a serious crisis in their life and do not know where to turn. Hopefully they are directed to Crawley Open House or a similar organisation.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Francesca Dent .

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