Sternberg Reed’s Charity of the Year 2018/19 is Hope for Barking Dagenham (H4BD)

Sternberg Reed’s Charity of the Year 2018/19 is Hope for Barking Dagenham (H4BD). This incredible charity aims to provide all-year 7-day emergency temporary accommodation, for people sleeping rough in Barking and Dagenham. It is the only night shelter resource in the whole of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Despite regularly getting referrals from the Council it receives no local authority funding. The charity is run by volunteers who offer the service free of charge to homeless adults.  People who use the charity are able to stay at the shelter for up to six weeks during which time they gain support in various ways including:

-how to successfully apply for benefits and permanent accommodation.

-hands-on support.

-a safe, secure and warm place to sleep,

-a shower, clean clothes, a hot meal and breakfast

-support they need to rebuild their life

-help to deal with their problems

Accommodation is provided for single men or women not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and with no record of violence and abuse.

At the end of 2016 the BBC2 documentary “No place to call home” helped to raise the profile of homelessness and the work of H4BD.

Homeless people are referred from various organisations including the Probation Service, Citizens Advice Bureau, Welcome Centre, Prisoner Resettlement. Social Services, Christians Against Poverty, Salvation Army (Anti Trafficking department), Police, Mental Health Street Triage Team ,and even MPs

Below is a true story of someone who has used the service (names have been changed to protect the person’s identity

Tom came into the H4BD night shelter. He had been made redundant and not been able to find further work therefore he was inevitably evicted. As a single father with a teenage son, this caused great distress as they both ‘sofa surfed’ amongst friend’s places. Tom became unwell and was diagnosed with manic depression and placed on medication. After securing a longer term stay for him son at a friend’s property, Tom entered H4BD night shelter. Timid, unsure and very low at first, Tom began to engage with the support that was offered to him through the night shelter and started to open up to volunteers with regards to how he was feeling. H4BD assisted Tom with producing an up to date CV and arranged for him to borrow clothes for any interviews. They also assisted Tom with a job seekers allowance claim. Through good contacts with letting agents we arranged for a viewing for Tom at a property slightly out of the borough. Tom accepted the property and after 6 weeks in the shelter moved into the property with his son. Subsequently Tom secured part-time work as a science technician, he has also begun volunteering at a support group for single fathers and has asked to volunteer at the night shelter once his son has completed his A-Levels.

This charity relies totally on the generosity of individuals to donate money, food, bedding, clothes and their time.

As Solicitors in Barking for nearly 50 years we are committed to doing all we can to raise awareness of the essential work this organisation does and help them continue to provide a service to some of the most vulnerable in our local community