Helping Westminster's street residents find a new start

Kris Hopkins MP during his visit to The Salvation Army's homeless accommodation in Westminster

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government was in Westminster this week to meet people who had formerly been homeless in the area before being helped by The Salvation Army to rebuild their lives.

Kris Hopkins MP was at The Salvation Army's Edward Alsop Court Lifehouse, a social service centre in Westminster's Great Peter Street which supports up to 108 male residents with low support needs.

The service provides a tailored support service to each resident with monthly reviews on their rehabilitation and the possibility to learn new skills and gain qualifications.  The Lifehouse also partners with external agencies and specialist drug and alcohol support services to ensure residents have the best possible chance to journey to full independence off the streets. 

Mr Hopkins also visited The Salvation Army's centre in nearby Rochester Row, which provides training opportunities and the chance to volunteer in the Salvation Army charity shop. 

One former resident at Edward Alsop Court was 32-year-old Carl, who lost his wife and became homeless as a result of his gambling addiction. 

He was put in touch with professional support by The Salvation Army and helped to find part-time work at a multinational company.  The job evolved into employment on a permanent basis and he was also resettled into his own accommodation.  When he found himself struggling with his addiction from time to time, he was able to pop in to Edward Alsop Court for support and encouragement.  However, he has successfully held down his job and remains in his own accommodation. 

Kris Hopkins MP said: "Thanks to the work of The Salvation Army, Edward Alsop Court provides a valuable service to some of the country's most vulnerable people, offering the opportunity for those who have slept on our streets to get their lives back on track.

"Since 2010 we've invested £470 million to maintain a strong safety net against homelessness, and today I was able to see for myself the excellent work that organisations like The Salvation Army do to help those in the greatest need."

Centre manager Lieutenant Alison Greer said: "It was wonderful for Kris to meet our residents as they work to rebuild their lives. We work hard to ensure we provide people with a place of safety and security, where they can find help and encouragement as they work through whatever challenges they are facing."