A centre which provides accommodation and support for young people and families who have experienced homelessness has been praised by MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood and Shadow Cabinet member for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, Cat Smith.
Michelle, along with her two children have lived at George Williams House which is run by The Salvation Army, for 18 months. They gave Ms Smith a tour of the building.
Michelle told Ms Smith: “Living here has totally changed our lives for the better, I can’t express enough how grateful we are for the support we’ve received. Someone in my position needs far more than just a roof over their head. I know that being here has helped me get my own life back on track so I can care for my girls properly.
“When I first arrived staff sat down with me and helped me work out what I wanted to achieve and gave me the tools and skills to do this. I wouldn’t have known where to start on my own. There is a huge list of programmes to take part in such as one on budgeting and emotional well-being. Staff are helping me enrol on a maths and English course which will be great. All I’ve ever wanted is a happy, better life. Now I’ve lived here I know this can happen for us and we're really excited about moving out in a few months into our own private tenancy. We know we'll continue to receive outreach support from here so we won't be on our own."
Ms Smith spent time speaking to service users about their experiences and found out why George Williams House has made such a difference to their lives.
Ms Smith, said: “It’s been a great day meeting inspiring people, and some incredible young people.
“The Salvation Army’s approach of seeing the person and family as a whole –treating people as people is wonderful and this is clearly achieving positive outcomes. Michelle and her children are testament to that.
“George Williams House is a great example of how early intervention can make a real difference. Today I met a teenage couple with a new baby and it’s good to see that they’ve been able to stay together here in a flat and they are also receiving the support they need.”
Ms Smith also met David, 17 who has been at George Williams House for 5 months and spoke about how, with the help from staff he’s hoping to go to university to study health and social care. He, said: “At George Williams House staff always have time to talk and offer help. I’ve got a job interview this week and one of the support workers is going to run through what to expect and give me a mock interview. It’s support like this which has made a real difference to me.”
George Williams House in Broomfield Road offers accommodation and specialist support to help young people and families move into more permanent housing, whether that is their own private tenancy; a housing association property; or re-uniting with family and moving back in with them. Over the last 12 months more than 20 households have been successful in achieving this. The skilled staff work with individuals to give them the support they need to achieve their own personal goals, whatever they may be.
There are 15 flats in total, six of which are for young people between 16 and 25 and the remaining nine are reserved for families.
George Williams House is run by The Salvation Army in partnership with Lancashire County Council, Regenda Housing Association, and Wyre Borough Council.
For more than 150 years The Salvation Army has been transforming lives and continues to do so today in communities across the UK and throughout the world.