The Salvation Army: Person-centred support

The Salvation Army has been committed to tackling homelessness in Northern Ireland for over 140 years.

Providing more than just a bed for the night, the church and charity helps people overcome the complex issues that lead to homelessness, such as mental ill health, relationship breakdowns, trauma and addiction.

In Northern Ireland, The Salvation Army operates five supported accommodation services, providing specialist care and support to over 300 people every night. These are:

• Centenary House Lifehouse: for single adults;

• Grosvenor Lifehouse: 20 self-contained flats for families with children;

• Glen Alva Lifehouse: 18 self-contained flats for families with children;

• Thorndale Lifehouse: 27 self-contained flats for families with children; and

• Thorndale Parenting Assessment: support to vulnerable families in partnership with health and social care trusts.

Solving someone’s immediate need for housing is a vital first step provided by The Salvation Army. However, many people require more tailored support.

Sarah and her two young children had been experiencing homelessness for almost two years until they were offered a place to live at one of The Salvation Army’s family centres in 2021. They were given a furnished home and round-the-clock support from specialist care workers to help them get their lives back on track.

Sarah says: “I had been living with a family member up until the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020. Everything was going well at first but the difficulties of being stuck in lockdown together put a strain on our relationship. We moved out and ended up in different temporary accommodation places until we heard about a Salvation Army family centre.

“The staff made us feel at home and we were given our own support worker. He helped us register with a GP and dentist and get enrolled at a nearby school and nursery. To have that lifeline early on was a godsend. It took away a lot of the stress.

“Being homeless during a pandemic has been tough but the staff have been there for my children and I at every step of the way. They have helped restore my confidence as a parent and I am ready to start looking for a permanent home.”

Neil McKittrick, who leads the charity’s homelessness services in Northern Ireland, says The Salvation Army operates its services in a “person-centred” way, meaning people are given a say in the kind of support they receive.

“It is about treating people as individuals”, says McKittrick. “When we are working with people we try to look at things from the perspective of what they can do and are good at rather than what they cannot do.”

T: (020) 7367 4500

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