Homelessness and Loneliness

What is the link between homelessness and loneliness?

In the UK homelessness is on the rise and one of the impacts of this is increased isolation and loneliness. Home is associated with sanctuary, a place to feel safe and secure, where you can wind down, be yourself and spend time with family and friends or even your pet.  When you lose your home, the waves of emotions you experience are so overwhelming, it can be hard to reach out and make connections with others.  This is when isolation and increased loneliness can set in.

CENS support workers recognise loneliness

When a new resident arrives at the shelter, they are met by one of our Support Workers who makes them feel at ease by listening and empathising with their situation. When we recognise the signs that a resident is feeling isolated and lonely, we reassure them and encourage them to reach out, giving them the time and space to settle into their new surroundings.  It can be very disorientating coming into a homeless shelter, and many people arrive with just a small bag containing a few of their personal items.  As humans we tend to withdraw into ourselves when faced with loss.  Homelessness is a form of loss and is akin to grief, delivering waves of sadness, fear and confusion.

CENS Support Staff

We have a dedicated team who work alongside residents during their time at CENS, helping them to secure more permanent accommodation, accompanying them to appointments if needed and assisting them to improve their lives and get back on track.  Meet the team of staff here:

“CENS staff are there for me when I feel I have no one else I can talk to, it is good to meet others in the same boat as me”

Breaking the stigma and shame associated with homelessness

Research shows that when faced with a life-changing event such as becoming homeless, people feel stigmatised and ashamed and this in turn can lead to feelings of loneliness.  We are there for our residents to reassure them about how important they are. Any number of factors, from a relationship breakdown to a loss of a job can contribute to someone finding themselves homeless, and we reiterate to our residents that here is no shame in it – it really can happen to anyone.  With the expert guidance from CENS staff, combined with talking to others in a similar situation, residents slowly get their confidence back and we see a sense of connection returning. 

How CENS helps reduce the sense of loneliness

We make all our residents feel safe and supported. The shelter becomes their home and this is reinforced by the range of activities we make available such as:

  • MOVIE NIGHTS – Nothing beats a good film, enjoying time with others, eating your favourite snacks!
  • PUZZLES – Our residents love the challenge that taking on a new puzzle brings and they love working on them together as a team.
  • TELEVISED SPORTS EVENTS – This brings the whole shelter together, from football matches to watching a round of tennis, bonding over sport creates happy memories (as long as your team wins!) 😉
  • ART THERAPY – The benefits of taking part in art whether it be crafts or something as simple as colouring in your favourite picture is soothing and therapeutic.
  • THERAPY DOGS – Once a month Essex Therapy Dogs visit CENS and this is fantastic for our residents, as it really helps reduce feelings of loneliness.  Bonding over animals brings so many benefits and can really help someone who may have had to give up their pet after becoming homeless.
  • GREEN SPACE – Here at CENS we have a lovely garden area and herb garden, where we all enjoy time together. It gives our residents a space to relax, chat and enjoy time together.
  • THE LOUNGE AREA – A chilled zone for watching TV, reading and chatting – just like at home.

Outside agencies that help with loneliness

We refer onto other agencies for all types of required support. For loneliness we offer one-to-one counselling sessions with Lifeforce and direct to MIND or the Samaritans if they need to talk to someone away from CENS. 

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