NEC partners with Shiloh to support those at risk of homelessness in Rotherham

As part of our partnership with Rotherham MBC, we pledged support to a local charity that’s helping some of the most vulnerable members of society. We caught up with Shiloh about the difference they are making to people’s lives every day.

NEC partner with Shiloh

As part of our contract for NEC Housing software with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, we committed to supporting community projects in the local area. When researching who we would like to work with, it became immediately clear the value of the support that Shiloh provides. And that’s why they became top of our list of charities to work with!

We provided 159 different items to Shiloh to help support their guests. It ranged from tea bags and pot noodles, all the way through to microwaves and saucepans. 

The team at Shiloh has already put the donation we provided to amazing use. And we’re committed to continuing support throughout our partnership work with Rotherham Council. When we caught up with the Shiloh team recently, we were fortunate enough to hear about the work they have been doing and how our support has helped them…

Tackling homelessness in Rotherham 

Founded in 1992, Shiloh is a charity focused on providing support to individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. They offer everything from help finding accommodation, getting registered with a doctor, accessing benefits and opening bank accounts, as well as offering support to tackle mental health, drug and alcohol issues. They also provide a warm place to get a cup of tea, grab a shower or do some laundry. 

One of the most important things they contend with is the idea that homelessness can be fixed with a hot meal and a roof over someone’s head. Shiloh goes above and beyond that, helping to address the reasons why their guests found themselves in vulnerable situations. Wherever possible, they’ll do something to help change that. 

This means they can help many of the most vulnerable guests into secure tenancies. Shiloh dedicates its work to the long-term wellbeing of their guests, so they invest a lot of time and resources into maintaining stability in these tenancies.

How Covid-19 impacted access to support 

When the lockdown hit the UK back in March 2020, the government introduced a policy called ‘Everyone In’. It aimed to give everyone the opportunity to isolate themselves safely. Part of this meant providing access to hotel rooms to those who were homeless, which was great, but only solved part of the problem. Availability of food banks and other support services were reduced due to covid concerns, which meant many were left without the wider help they relied on. 

Shiloh had to adapt their service massively. They moved to remote support over the phone. This included buying and delivering pay-as-you-go phones to those who were sleeping rough to try and maintain lines of communication. Trained well-being volunteers covered the phone lines to help those in need. And they went beyond that too. At the height of the pandemic, Shiloh provided around 1,500 meals to individuals who were staying in hotels and had no access to cooking facilities. 

Making a difference with the Moving On scheme

The demand on charities like Shiloh to support the increasing number of homeless people across Rotherham has meant the team are constantly developing new ways to help people settle more permanently. This is where the Moving On scheme plays a vital role. In October 2020, Shiloh introduced a training programme that focused on helping their guests understand their rights and responsibilities as tenants. 

The programme covered: 

  • The benefits system: Sharing ways in which people without ready access to the internet are able to successfully claim the benefits they’re entitled to. 
  • Budgeting: Covering how to balance income and expenditure in the best way possible. 
  • Housing pathways: Helping guests understand the different types of properties, such as private, supported or council stock.
  • Bills: Explaining both how to pay bills such as water and electricity, but also how to make the most of support like council tax reduction.
  • Rights and responsibilities: Ensuring that guests know what they are entitled to as tenants as well as what will be required of them.

Guests who complete the course are then supported in their housing application. Shiloh works hard to help with upfront costs such as deposits. They also help tenants who have moved into properties that don’t have white goods or furniture to ensure these people have a proper home. One such individual shared his story with us below. 

Joao’s story

Rotherham Council referred Joao to Shiloh in June 2021 following difficult personal circumstances and an accumulation of rent arrears that had left him in emergency accommodation. First, Shiloh helped Joao to create a plan for reducing his debt while he completed the Moving On scheme. Then he was supported, both by Shiloh and HSBC, to set up a bank account of his own to access the benefit system. 

Joao applied for and accepted the tenancy to a home in a social landlord property. Crucially for Joao, this property allowed him to have visitors so he could once again have his children round as guests in his home. However the property needed furnishing, and again Shiloh stepped in to support. With the help of donations and funding, they were able to provide Joao’s home with a bed, fridge freezer, a cooker, pots, pans and more. He was able to build a proper home, rather than just a roof over his head, where he and his family could create their own future. 

And Joao isn’t alone. At any one moment, Shiloh can be supporting over 100 active guests. And their needs range from guidance and advice all the way through to full housing support. The work they do makes a difference every day to real people in Rotherham. And we’re proud to be able to support even a small amount of the amazing work that they do. 

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