"We appreciate the collaborative way they work and the trust they show in us to deliver."
Sheila Stephenson, Co-Founder of SFTS
Shelter From The Storm
Shelter from the Storm is a completely free emergency night shelter providing bed, dinner and breakfast for 36 people who have experienced homelessness every night of the year
They see their role as housing and supporting the homeless in London ‘whoever they are, wherever they come from’, with the hope that one day charities like theirs will no longer be necessary. This means responding to the specific needs of individuals, however complex. They work with each ‘guest’ as an individual, supporting them to set realistic goals that will enable them to work towards a safe, sustainable and happy future, which might include housing, employment and training, health and well-being. They also foster within the hostel community a commitment to care, understanding and mutual respect.
The shelter has been designed with the needs of homeless people at its core, with three ‘dorms’ (two male, one female), lounge and dining areas, a commercial kitchen, showers and loos, a meeting space, a counselling room and clothing store. Remarkably this has all been funded through donations, without a single penny from central or local government, giving the shelter an important degree of independence to provide the care that it sees fit.
What did we fund?
Initially Footwork funded Shelter from the Storm to receive expert evaluation advice and to set up software in order to collect data to understand the benefits that its support provides to the shelter’s users.
We subsequently provided funding to help the shelter to provide more suitable accommodation during the pandemic, so that they could continue to offer their services to the most vulnerable.
Recently we extended that support to pay for the design and construction of prototypes of a sleeping pod, to give the guests greater privacy.
What value did we see in this project?
We heard about Shelter from the Storm in an impassioned presentation from its extraordinary founder, Sheila Scott – a determined and successful social innovator. A visit to the shelter (whose location we cannot reveal, for security reasons) confirmed that this is a beautiful place and quite unlike any homeless shelter we have seen. We were impressed not just by the place, but by the concept which views those who stay (typically for 3 months) as ‘guests’. The team around them are mostly local volunteers – there to cook, to clean, simply to help – while the guests themselves are there to use the time and the support to restore their self-confidence and to find work and onward accommodation. And it works, as demonstrated by the fact that people tipped into homelessness for a wide range of reasons, have found a stable future. We immediately saw the potential for such an exemplary night shelter to exist in many other places.
What impact has our support had?
Footwork’s support has enabled Shelter from the Storm to evaluate its wonderful model so that it can learn from its guests and its volunteers and demonstrate its success to others. Perhaps in time this will lead to other such shelters in other places. We were also able to help it through the pandemic, at a time when homelessness placed people in particular danger. The pods are now complete and in place (funded by others) and providing the kind of privacy unheard of in homeless shelters – another concept for others to follow.