STILL WATERS HOUSE
'SOMEWHERE TO CALL HOME'
Still Waters House is a new Birmingham based provider of Supported Accommodation for people experiencing, or at risk of homelessness in the city.
Homelessness is at unprecedented levels in our city, with an estimated 140% increase since 2010. The obvious signs of this is seen in the huge increase of rough sleepers and the regular requests for financial support from destitute individuals as we walk through the city's streets. Something once primarily experienced in the City Centre has increasingly spread into residential communities as the City Centre becomes an increasingly hostile and unsafe place for destitute people.
Still Waters House is a 'Church-Led, Faith-Shaped, Christian-Response' to the need we see around us. We are motivated by a belief that God has a heart for those in our society who lack access to even the most basic of resources: shelter, food, finance... and who are generally marginalised and often at risk of harm.
What do you see? A problem? A scrounger? A threat?
Or can you simply see a person?
The Human Face of homelessness...
Still Waters House is a ministry of Birmingham Central Baptist Church who are working with other Churches and organisations in the city to deliver the Supported Accommodation.
Our first property offers accommodation for four men in a comfortable, well equipped home. We accept referrals for potential residents from a number of organisations, and have a robust and structured referral process in place.
All of our residents are engaged in a Support Plan which has been identified through a Needs Assessment. They are appointed a Pastoral Support Volunteer who will work with them to undertake a journey from homelessness to independent living.
We aim to give every resident every opportunity to overcome the obstacles and challenges which stand in their way. We encourage their determination to change their circumstances for the better.
How can you respond to a destitute person when you meet one? Here are some general thoughts which might help you...
Do not be afraid to talk to them, you may be the only proper conversation they have all day.
Their homelessness is not who they are! They are human beings like anyone else, treat them with respect and do not pre-judge.
Talk to them about everyday matters not just their obvious situation. You will find people who are intelligent, hold an opinion, and are open to a conversation.
Offer to buy them something to eat and drink (ask first and meet their request if possible).
As a general rule (no matter how sad the story) do not give money, you may enable harm not good for that person.
You do not have to have all the 'answers'. Homelessness is a very complicated issue, and solutions are not always easy to find. You are not expected to solve anyone's problems, just be real, be honest, be open.
There are 'Outreach Teams' in the city centre who generally understand the issues, have resources, and know how to signpost people to help, and temporary accommodation.
The person in front of you may well know a lot more about homelessness than you do, so be humble.
Your response needs to be measured. Do not make extravagant promises, and do not take risky actions. Your welfare and safety is of paramount importance!
If you have concerns for the welfare of a rough sleeper you can contact Street Link.
Why not install their app on your device so you can act quickly when the need arises?