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Hackney Winter Night Shelter at Dalston Christmas Market 2013
Article Post Date: Thursday 14.11.2013

Each winter, HWNS provides food, shelter and a warm welcome to homeless people in Hackney. We help our guests out of homelessness and into homes.

A project of Hackney Doorways, Hackney Winter Night Shelter is a grassroots project run by volunteers from Hackney churches and the local community. We provide a meal and a bed for homeless people at 7 different venues around Hackney during the winter, and year round support to help guests find housing.

Our Link Worker and Support Workers work with our guests to help them get off the streets, and provide support for those who have moved into accommodation.

In 2012, we introduced new operating times by extending the season of the Shelter for two months so it was open from 1st November to the end of March – for 5 months – so we could offer a warm meal and a bed to more people (previously the Shelter season started after Christmas).  There is a waiting list operating and hopefully as guests are found alternative accommodation, those on the waiting list will be able to get a place with us

What does the Shelter mean for our guests:
• Last year we accommodated up to 25 people each night. This meant a total of:
- 2875 nights, with hot suppers and breakfasts
- 78 different guests stayed in the Shelter, including 11 women
- 49 people were helped in finding permanent accommodation, and we continue to work with others
- 14 guests were found emergency cold weather accommodation following our closure on 28th March
- We received a total of 932 enquiries as to whether there was an available bed at the shelter, meaning we had to turn down more than 850 requests to stay with us

• We also ran a medical clinic every Sunday evening with a visiting volunteer GP. For the first time, this gave our guests a chance to have their medical problems (physical or mental) addressed. There were 68 formal consultations and several informal chats.

• We are now running a legal clinic in co-operation with the Hackney Community Law Centre advising guests on housing, benefit and immigration issues. The first clinic was held on July 25th 2013, attended by 5 clients, seeking advice on housing, benefits and immigration.

Hackney Winter Night Shelter is run by more than 750 volunteers at venues around Hackney and also in Tower Hamlets. Volunteers are mostly local but are of all ages and backgrounds – many have been with us for years – meaning we have an invaluable community of volunteers to keep the Shelter going. If you would like to help in future, get in touch.

Although most of the work is done by volunteers, it costs about £70,000 a year to run our shelter.   We are always very grateful for financial support.

Donations can be made online via the Charities Aid Foundation:

or you can now donate to HWNS by text.:   Text HWNS02 £2 / £5 / £10 to 70070 to donate* eg HWNS02 £5

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