how to raise money/finance for a homeless project

edited 10 April 2012 at 11:04AM in Charities
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bzjanebzjane Forumite
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edited 10 April 2012 at 11:04AM in Charities
I am involved in the drug/alcohol field in a voluntary capacity. I have become very aware of the need for safe drug/alcohol free accommodation for people at various stages of recovery. A building has recently been put on the market which could provide basic housing for abouth 35 people. I would like to form a co-operative/social enerprise/community interest company to buy/rent this building and get clients/community involved in running it. How do I make this "dream" a reality?
i would appreciate any constructive advice or comments

Thanks


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  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Gosh, big dream!

    What is it particularly you want advice on, fundraising, or 'how to set up services for the homeless'?

    whichever it is, I would start by tapping into local knowledge - google volunteer plus your town / area / county and see what your local VCS can offer, for both parts of the equation.

    Also be aware of the funding situation out there: you need a model for covering the ongoing costs IMO. One way is to tender to provide services to the local authority once they've realised that such services should be part of their next big local plan. Another is to say 'we don't want that kind of funding', but then how are you going to cover your ongoing costs?

    Does that make sense and give you a start? If you want to say where you are, there may be more specific advice.
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  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    DH works in this field, btw, and recently commented at a meeting that there were not enough places for homeless people to live in our area. Someone else responded that he was wrong, there are LOTS of properties available, but the council will not pay for people to stay in them. As that person is a landlord of such properties, we think he knows what he's talking about ... which reinforces the point that the issue is not just about places, it's also very much about the finance!
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  • Thanks Sue, Yes I'm aware that its a very complex issue and I am in the process of putting together a business plan. However I believe that in the long term the public money would be saved because at present the services seem to be more effective at keeping people in a cycle of addiction, crime, unemployment and dependancy, than in providing an environment where they can move forward and become productive citizens. A lot of money is wasted because if you fund a person through detox and/or rehab but you don't plan for afterwards then you might as well pour the money down a drain. I know of people who have been funded for rehab/detox multiple times but keep failing because they don't get the right support when they need it.
  • ErrataErrata Forumite
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    In your shoess I'd start by having lengthy in-depth discussions with the local CVS as it's usually the umbrella organisation for third sector services. There's always a possibility that the service you'd like to set up could knit in with one that already exists in a slightly different form. There may also be a social enterprise officer working in your local council whom it would be worth your while having discussions with.
    At the very least the above would be useful 'devil's advocates', particularly with a residential property with 35 places given the relapse problems that will happen.
    .................:)....I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on ...:)
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    bzjane wrote: »
    However I believe that in the long term the public money would be saved because at present the services seem to be more effective at keeping people in a cycle of addiction, crime, unemployment and dependancy, than in providing an environment where they can move forward and become productive citizens.
    Sadly, long term savings seem to feature less and less in the spending of public money.
    bzjane wrote: »
    A lot of money is wasted because if you fund a person through detox and/or rehab but you don't plan for afterwards then you might as well pour the money down a drain.
    Again, this is not the way the provision of services is looked at.
    bzjane wrote: »
    I know of people who have been funded for rehab/detox multiple times but keep failing because they don't get the right support when they need it.
    And I can probably match your stories. However, I'd question whether a 35 bed 'unit' would be manageable: that's a lot of people, and once one falls off the rails there's a tendency for others to follow.

    One of the problems is that when you've been an addict, all your friends tend to be addicts too. You badly need to make new friends, and while it can be helpful to have people who know where you've been, that can also be very difficult.
    Errata wrote: »
    In your shoess I'd start by having lengthy in-depth discussions with the local CVS as it's usually the umbrella organisation for third sector services. There's always a possibility that the service you'd like to set up could knit in with one that already exists in a slightly different form. There may also be a social enterprise officer working in your local council whom it would be worth your while having discussions with.
    Excellent advice.
    Errata wrote: »
    At the very least the above would be useful 'devil's advocates', particularly with a residential property with 35 places given the relapse problems that will happen.
    Very true.

    Of course within the generally woefully inadequate provision of rehab and recovery options is the even more dire lack of women-only rehab / recovery services. There are many more beds for men, and even when mixed accommodation is available that doesn't always 'work' for women.

    I'm not saying 'don't do this', but I am aware of several projects set up in this field because the need was clearly there, and they have not been sustainable because the funding priorities for the local authority didn't include what they were doing.

    BTW, does this property have any neighbours? Because you mention getting 'community' involved in running it. I am not a gambling woman, but if I were, I'd be prepared to put money on fierce local opposition from the neighbours when they hear you're planning to put up to 35 former addicts in their street.

    Another question: where is it in relation to the drugs 'scene'? Location is critical: too close to the supply and there will be problems; too far from appropriate services and residents will struggle to access them.
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  • Thanks to all who have replied,

    I know that the project will not be easy and I am grateful for the advice/comments. With regard to the query about the neighbours objecting, the building in question was a homeless hostel until comparatively recently and it is being marketed as a "former hostel" with potential for other uses. I know this doesn't mean that there would be no objections but the precedent is there.

    Re the possibility of relapse, yes this will always be an issue with addicts but I would envisage having a very robust relapse policy which I know might seem draconian to some but it would literally be total abstinence. Any resident who failed a drug/alcohol test or was found to be dealing would be discharged that day. I am currently training as a recovery broker and there is a strong recovery community in the area. I have good relations with local rehabs and homeless organisations and there is a core group of people in recovery who want to make this happen.

    Please continue giving feedback and comments as I very much value this input.

    Many thanks
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    I'm not sure what else to say. I think the 'network, network, network' approach is well worth pursuing, you need other people to join you on a management committee, you need people who know about fundraising, legal issues, pr, hr, and so on and so forth. What do you think your next step is?
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  • ErrataErrata Forumite
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    Do you have a ballpark figure for the purchase, another for staffing costs, another for running costs, another for 'rent' from the residents?
    Whilst I apppreciate you'd like the residents and community to run the hostel, you need the stability of experienced salaried employees to keep everything on an even keel.
    .................:)....I'm smiling because I have no idea what's going on ...:)
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