At Edge Housing we believe that everyone can have hope for a better future and that the many issues faced by those who are or have been homeless can be overcome. We understand that often homelessness and addiction are only the behaviours, or symptoms, that you can see, when the real issues stem from less obvious trauma and a complex mix of challenges which can leave a person unsure how or where to begin and even question whether there is any point.
We aim to give people the time and support they need to grow in strength and confidence and to start addressing these issues with us alongside them.
The majority of our residents have come from traumatic backgrounds and have complex needs. This often involves some kind of dysfunctional upbringing such as unwell or addicted parents, being in the care system, undiagnosed mental health needs, abuse or poverty. This often leads to a person with low self-worth and unable to form appropriate relationships or have healthy boundaries. In many situations crime, addiction and poverty are followers from a poor start in life. By adulthood, unhealthy learned behaviours cause the person to be unable to address their issues and the cycle continues on for many years, at times worsening and at times stabilising but never moving forwards or breaking free. Due to these behaviours people can become isolated and not form good support networks. When people come to us, some are wanting help, some don’t know what to do and some are just desperate for a roof over their heads (and will say anything in their assessment to get a room with no intention of moving forwards) and a few are required to through probation.
Re-building the foundations
The first and most important stage of the work we do involves addressing the barriers to our residents finding solutions to the challenges they face. This can take many years or sometimes be accomplished reasonably quickly. It will not be a linear uphill journey but as the relationship between our support team and the resident builds and more is revealed, the residents will go forwards and backwards until enough time has passed that they trust us. During this period, we attempt to strengthen their resilience, help them build their self-worth and give them hope. In addition, we help them build healthy relationships and grow in trust. Finally, we guide them in building a support system and help them recognise and take responsibility for their own health issues.
Rediscovering life and hope
Once a resident has become sufficiently resilient, we can move into stage two and start to address addictions, health needs, how they spend their time and whether to look for education or employment. Alongside this, we help them manage their money and debts, support them to have healthy relationships and ultimately aim to see them become tenancy ready to move forwards in their lives.
Residents can choose to move on at any time as there is no formal limit on their stay with us or official move on target. However, we use our relationships to support someone to a make a decision to move at what will be a healthy time and either encourage them to wait longer or encourage to push on, as appropriate, both supporting them as a person and in the practical aspects of finding somewhere to go. As none of us lead perfect lives, we do not expect our residents to wait until their lives are perfect, but we would aim for them to be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle, free from addiction, with a good support system, a willingness to engage with professionals and resilience to cope with the trials of life. Our support, however, continues once they leave – should they wish it -and we are also happy to retake someone if it does not work out for them.
Resident Case Study*
T* was a wealthy man who owned two houses before addiction got him, and he very quickly found himself in a broken relationship, having to sell his homes and eventually on the street. Although he managed to give up heroin, he was a dependent alcoholic and had just been moved into the Night Shelter when we offered him a room. For the first two years of his stay with Edge he battled periods of abstinence but there was a definite pattern which he was unable to break. Eventually relationships and trust strengthened to the point that we were able to challenge him hard on these patterns and through knowing him so well we could see the danger signs and support him through. He eventually managed to abstain long enough to get and hold down a job, which lead to a promotion, which led to a reasonable salary, a pride in the role and now he can move on.
*based on a number of real life stories
To enable all of this to happen, Edge Housing has in place –
Homes – Real homes (currently 9 in and around Oxford) which are decorated well and kept from looking institutionalised with artwork, attention to detail and allow the resident a wide scope to make changes and choices within the properties. Each has a well-maintained garden and communal living rooms and isa short bike ride from the city centre.
Support – Each resident will have a dedicated support worker who will meet 1-1, as well as other times when needed and for out of hours in emergencies. We work through a ‘My Journey’ pack, helping residents to set themselves goals, work towards their dreams and make sure that they are leading the way.
Office Hub – Our offices are always a welcoming place for residents or ex-residents to pop in for a coffee or just to be with people. We always drop what we are doing when someone wants to talk or needs help.
Addiction Outreach – We have a dedicated Addiction Specialist from Turning Point with Edge once a week to perform outreach work for residents battling addictions at any stage in their journey.
Activities – We offer various meaningful activities through our Apple Juicing project, art workshops, Breakfast Club, trips and through Resident Involvement Meetings.
Faith – There is an open door to join in faith based activities at the Church or to discuss faith but this is strictly on an individual basis. We offer one to one prayer support with residents but are always praying for their needs weekly as a team.
Specialist Areas – Within the support we are offer are four specialised areas with slightly different needs:
- Female Only House – We have a three-bed home which we is specifically for women only
- Recovery House – We have a six-bed home which we run in partnership with Turning Point which offers supports to people in recovery
- NRPF – We have three beds for people, typically asylum seekers, with no recourse to public funds which we support in partnership with Connections Support
- Long Term Residents – We can offer up to 10 beds for those with complex long-term needs which leaves the resident vulnerable to exploitation, relapse or homelessness should they move on too early. The time require for the maintenance part of their journey is longer and the move on housing is more selective.
Professional Approaches –
- Trauma Informed Care
- Unconditional Positive Regard/Resident involvement
- Solution Focused Therapy
- Psychologically Informed Environments
Valuing Team Culture
The Edge Housing team has a very intentional culture, based firmly on Biblical values and love and specifically tailored to make us as effective as we can be in delivering the care and support our residents need. The priorities are to be –
- Reflective & vulnerable
- Respectful to all, regardless of their background
- Servant hearted/non-authoritative.
- To maintain a willingness to listen and learn.
- To always be honest & empathetic
We believe that God loves our residents, that God died for them and that God has a plan for their lives.
We will believe in a person when they don’t believe in themselves.
We aim to seek and hear from the Holy Spirit as we go about our work.
If you would like to know more or to support our work in any way, please do just get in touch via email: email@example.com or phone: 01865 297460
We’re passionate about our work and our residents and would love to share the story with you!