Huge funding boost for city homeless charity

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A Lancaster charity has secured funding for the next five years after successfully bidding for a Big Lottery grant.

Lancaster District Homeless Action Service (LDHAS), based in Edward Street, has received £370,000 to put in place new schemes and pay for operating and staff costs.

It will employ two new intensive support workers who will focus on getting the long term homeless to take positive steps to move forward in their lives.

Gary Welsh, manager at LDHAS, said that the grant was great for the future of the charity.

He said: “For a charity, five years of funding is a long time.

“It’s been a long process, and it’s been a big piece of work.

“The grant will partially fund two existing workers and two new 20 hour intensive support worker posts.

“Some of it will also cover operating costs, and part funding of the manager’s post.

“The two new workers will start in June and we’re aiming to really focus on the entrenched homeless and other agencies will refer into us.

“They’re going to be mentoring and trying to help them move on with their lives.

“It is often the case that a few people are using up a lot of resources in A&E and hospital services and committing crimes which take up police time and costs a lot of money in the long term.

If we try to find them accommodation straight away without addressing their problems, it’s just like a revolving door, but having these resources now we’re hoping we can really address these hard to reach clients.”

The charity is now working closely with the Citizen’s Advice Bureau and J2R Addaction to provide a more complete and effective service.

He also said that although the funding was a huge boost, there were still gaps.

He added: “We’re very well supported by the people of Lancaster, who want us to carry on offering front line services for people, but despite the funding we still very much welcome donations.

“It’s a big commitment from the Big Lottery and it’s great for our future. We now need to find new premises as we’ve outgrown these.”

The charity will be in Market Square on June 21 between 11am and 4.30pm to talk about their project Homeless to Home and other future projects.