7 myth-busting fact about CENS

The term ‘homeless shelter’ can conjure all sorts of stereotypes about our service and the people who use it. Here are 7 little-known facts to help clear up the misconceptions

#1 You can only stay 1 night as an emergency

At CENS, we offer residents the chance to stay here for 28 nights. This gives them the chance to re-group; get the help they need and start looking forward. In that time, if more permanent accommodation becomes available we can extend their stay for the interim.

#2 You can turn up at the front door to get a room

There’s no queuing for a room, we have a referral process where people and their situation are assessed before they’re able to stay here. This helps to ensure we are the right service for them. We do often have a waiting list, but we stay in touch over the phone until a room becomes available.

#3 CENS is full of drugs and alcohol

We want to make CENS a safe and comfortable place to stay for everyone. Therefore, we have a zero-tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol. Everyone who stays with us is regularly drug tested and breathalysed before they enter the building. We understand that residents suffering with substance misuse issues need help so we work closely with Open Road, Beacon House and Phoenix Futures to ensure that anyone struggling with abstinence is supported.

#4 Residents sleep in dorms in dirty conditions

We have 15 self-contained bedrooms with ensuites. As a part of their agreement to stay at CENS, residents must keep these in a clean condition. Staff do room checks every day to ensure standards are kept high!

#5 People beg on the streets to pay CENS service charge

Everyone who stays at CENS is either working or in receipt of benefits. We check to ensure they can afford the £4 a night to stay and that they are willing and able to do this. We would never put someone in a position where they had to beg to afford to sleep here. If a resident is struggling to pay the service charge, we work with them to find funding from other agencies.

#6 Dinners are tins of soup

We pride ourselves on providing a decent hot meal every evening. We have a kitchen co-ordinator who creates a nutritious weekly menu. The delivery from FareShare means that the residents get a variety of delicious meals every week. We also accommodate for residents who have allergies or can’t each certain foods for religious reasons.

#7 After CENS, residents go back to sleeping on the streets

Our aim is to ensure that everyone who comes to CENS finds more permanent accommodation. We work closely with supported living agencies such as Sanctuary, Nacro, Peabody, Emmaus and the YMCA to give residents the best chance of keeping from being street homeless.

We also have Al’s Annex, which is our move-on accommodation. It houses four residents for six month which gives them the chance to find work and save up for a private rent deposit.

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