Pictured: Dartmouth Avenue resident Sami, who came to the project after a relationship breakdown.
Christmas time is one of the most difficult times of the year to face homelessness. Our Dartmouth Avenue project in Bath provides a safe and secure home for people who have found themselves with nowhere to live.
Any number of triggers can lead to someone facing homelessness - a change of circumstances or the loss of a job, ill-health, domestic violence, a relationship breakdown - things that could happen to every one of us.
Dartmouth Avenue provides a home for single people as well as families, like Brooke and her four young children. Brooke was evicted from her home of 10 years when her landlord opted to sell the property. “We’ve got a Christmas tree and fairy lights – the kids think it’s a big adventure," says Brooke. "Being here is going to aid me to go on and get a property. I’m definitely optimistic for next year – I’ve got to be, I’ve got four little people who need me.”
Projects like Dartmouth Avenue are about far more than a roof over someone’s head. "Lots of people say to us this is the first time in a long time they’ve had a safe, stable, secure and settled place to live,” says Supported Housing Officer Jenny Milsom. Supported housing officers like Jenny provide practical and emotional support so that when people move on into their own home they have the best chance of success.
We provide support to meet everyone’s individual needs in a range of areas like accessing the government benefits available, budgeting, debt management and preparing for work. We can also help people access specialist support for mental health, drug and alcohol and domestic abuse issues.
Curo's homeless accommodation provides access to vital emergency temporary accommodation. In the Bath area we have 17 places to stay at Dartmouth Avenue and seven flats elsewhere in the city. Last year we helped 86 families and single people in Bath to move on into independent accommodation, be it a home with Curo, private rented accommodation or other social landlords. We also provide similar services in Wiltshire and North Somerset.
Across the West of England Curo delivers care and support services to 2,500 customers every week. We work with a range of different customer groups, young and old, as well as single people and families facing homelessness.
Customers come to Dartmouth Avenue whilst the local council investigate whether they have a statutory duty to re-house them. This means if accepted an average stay would be approximately four months.
If this service wasn't available then people may have to stay living on the street or in unsafe situations; this would make a personal crisis into a personal tragedy in some instances. One resident told us: “It’s a massive relief knowing that I can come home and I’ve got a roof over my head every night - I haven’t got to worry about looking for somewhere to stay.”
If you want to help please ask us about volunteering with Curo, offering your skills to help people live as full a life as possible. Contact us on 01225 366000 and ask for our care and support team. You can also help our customers by donating to a local food bank providing emergency supplies during the winter period.