A month of highs and lows

The realities of homelessness can be brutal but there is always hope for a brighter future

CENS has changed its referral procedures recently due to the sheer volume of people phoning in for a bed. This time of year is always busy, but the last few weeks have been unprecedented with the amount of phone calls from people in desperate need of somewhere to sleep. On one day alone, 12 people were unsuccessful at referring in because CENS had no voids that day.  

The lows

One of the hardest things about the job is having to say no when there are no other options other than sleeping on the streets. There are other fantastic local agencies (Beacon House, Peabody, Colchester Borough Homes, Community 360 and many more), all trying to prevent people losing their homes and giving support to those who are without a place to stay, but we’ve all felt the strain these last few weeks.

Whether it’s the economic and emotional fall-out after the pandemic, rise in living costs or the extortionate rental prices that are seeing more and more people in hardship, it’s hard to tell. All we know is the number of people in need is growing at a rate CENS has not seen before.

The highs

On a more positive note, we have also successfully helped six service users move on to more permanent accommodation in the last two months. Four of them have moved into various supported living, one went to privately rent and one resident moved across the way into our move-on house, Al’s Annexe.

We need your help

Here’s how you can support CENS with the vital work we do for homeless men and women in Colchester:

  • Volunteer to help cook, garden or clean the windows! Apply here
  • Donate money here
  • Help with our essentials (we will always need milk, washing tablets, washing-up liquid, loo roll and coffee! We try to cook most of our meals from scratch so don’t get through much tinned soup, although the Food Bank would greatly appreciate them).

Help a rough sleeper

If you are concerned about someone sleeping on the streets, contact the national referral service for homeless people, StreetLink.

It’s the first step to ensure rough sleepers are connected to the local services and the support available to them. Streetlink will forward the details to our local outreach team in Colchester.

If you see someone sleeping rough, visit www.streetlink.org.uk or download the free mobile app for Apple and Android. You can also phone StreetLink on 0300 500 0914.

CENS Essential Shopping List

  • Tea
  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Hot chocolate
  • UHT milk
  • Squash
  • Vgetable oil
  • Gravy granules
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salt & pepper
  • Stock cubes
  • Herbs and spices
  • Tinned fruit
  • Tinned/packet custard
  • Baked beans
  • Tinned tuna
  • Tinned vegetables & potatoes
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Kidney beans
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Jam, peanut butter, chocolate spread
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Men & women’s deodorant
  • Men’s razors
  • Shave gel
  • Shower gel
  • Toothpaste
  • Cloths
  • Scourers
  • Washing up liquid
  • Surface cleaners
  • Floor cleaner
  • Bleach
  • Bathroom cleaners
  • Bin bags
  • Food caddy liners
  • Loo roll
  • Washing tablets
  • AA batteries
  • NEW single duvets
  • Pillows/pillowcases
  • Single duvet covers/sheets
  • Clean/good condition towels

Please no soups!
Thank you