Project information

CHAS (Bristol) Housing Advice Service

We believe everyone has a right to a decent home. Our project will help homeless and poorly housed people to resolve housing issues by means of advice, advocacy and ongoing support. This will improve their quality of life and enable them to rebuild their lives.

April 2014 - March 2015

Charity information: Churches Housing Aid Society

Churches Housing Aid Society logo
  • Need

    Need

    Many people in severe housing need are vulnerable and have multiple problems. For many people their housing problems are bound up with, and often caused by, other issues such as relationship breakdown, domestic violence, racial harassment, mental and physical health issues and loss of employment. They frequently need sustained, long-term practical help in order to resolve their housing situation and start to rebuild their lives.

    Solution

    We will provide advice by telephone and via face-to-face appointments, followed by individual case work, advocacy and practical support, drawing on our excellent working relationships with local partners, built up since the charity was founded 49 years ago. Last year, for example, we helped over 400 individuals and families to achieve a better quality of life. In 2012-13, a positive outcome was achieved in 98% of cases.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Prevent homelessness in the City of Bristol and surrounding areas.

    Activities

    » Advise clients and advocate on their behalf on the basis of their rights in law.
    » Help clients complete forms and support them at meetings.
    » Attend case conferences and accompany clients to court and, where appropriate, speak on their behalf.
    » Liaise closely with a wide range of agencies such as Social Services and health professionals.

    Success will be measured by recording case outcomes. In 2012/13, 34% of our clients contacted were successfully rehoused and housing conditions were improved for a further 22%.


    Aim 2

    Enable people to stay in their own homes by improving their current housing conditions.

    Activities

    » Raise concerns on an individual's behalf with landlords, Councils and Housing Associations.
    » Challenge unfair or sometimes illegal activity by landlords and other housing providers.
    » Accompany individuals to meetings, especially if they are vulnerable or have mental health issues.

    Success will be monitored by recording numbers of people helped to take action themselves, where conditions were improved or income raised. (98% of clients in 2012/13).


    Aim 3

    Help people who are homeless or in unsatisfactory housing to find suitable accommodation.

    Activities

    » Advise people on rehousing options and assist individuals to apply to agencies that provide accommodation.
    » Contact other agencies, as needed, to provide support eg with benefits, or with emotional needs (eg for someone fleeing domestic abuse).
    » Help people appeal against unsuitable offers of council, housing association or emergency accomodation

    Success will be measured by monthly and end-of-year monitoring. In 2012/13, 34% of our clients were successfully rehoused.


  • Impact

    Impact

    The project will help to achieve a society where all members of the community have a place they can call home. We believe that housing is central to the development of individuals, communities and society as a whole.

    Success will be demonstrated by monthly and annual monitoring, including a feedback exercise. The aim is to help about 120 new individuals/households in 2014/15 in addition to those we will continue to work with.

    Risk

    The principal risk is connected to long-term funding. In order to ensure that Bristol's poorest residents continue to get the advice and support they need, it is imperative that we have sustainable funding.

    We have an intensive and pro-active fundraising programme. To give one example, we have recently received a grant of £10,000 from a local charitable trust with the possibility of further funding in the next two years. We have made a further 200 plus applications awaiting outcomes.

    Reporting

    By providing annual reports and regular client statistics and success stories (based on client feedback). This can be done via email or post.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £49,214

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £37,469 Staffing Salaries of two staff, Advice Service Manager and Adminustrator.
      £2,500 Rent & rates Rent/rates for office space
      £9,245 Running costs Telephone, insurance, postage, legal fees etc

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    John James Bristol Foundation £10,000 Conditional
    Allen Lane Foundation £2,000 Conditional
    Van Neste Foundation £7,000 Conditional
  • Background

    Location

    We are located in inner-city Bristol where there is a concentration of deprived communities, including a number of neighbourhoods which fall within the 10% most deprived in the UK. We also assist people outside Bristol in the surrounding area / counties of the south west.

    Beneficiaries

    Anyone in housing need. In 2013/14 for example, around two-thirds of our clients (most of whom are aged between 25 and 49) were women and 48% were from a black or other ethnic minority community. 37% were disabled and a further 36% long-term sick. The majority of our service users are referred to us from agencies working with vulnerable people including Social Workers, solicitors, social landlords, disability organizations, Victim Support, Bristol Mind, the Carers' Support Centre etc.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    We have been helping homeless and poorly housed people in Bristol since 1965 and have earned a reputation for excellence. Over time we have amassed a wealth of knowledge and experience in housing legislation, policy and practice. We have also learned a great deal about dealing with vulnerable and marginalized people. We hold the Community Legal Service Quality Mark. An audit in December 2009 found that we are "an excellent organization which delivers its aims in a very effective way".

    Read more about the Charity running this project.

    People

    Mike Mills

    Mike has been Advice Service Manager since 1997. He has a degree in Housing and is a member of the local advice network steering group.

    Una Di Mambro

    Una is a retired solicitor and has been the voluntary Chairperson of CHAS (Bristol) since 1984.

£113

Annual cost of helping one client

"I must honestly say a big thank you. I appreciated all that you have done for me through my times of troubles and needs".

49-year old disabled woman, homeless following domestic abuse from her husband, who stole money from her. Permanently moved to a Council tenancy.