Basis Beds is a project Oasis Community Housing began in 2013 to meet the housing needs of those in crisis. Working alongside local authorities, Oasis Community Housing secured 40 flats across Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside and set about making them into homes. Oasis Community Housing takes a Housing First philosophy to homelessness provision. Phil Conn, Director of Crisis Services, explains: “We believe in a Housing First approach because everyone should have access to a home and, for those who might struggle in their own home, the solution isn’t to prevent them having one; it is to provide them with the support to move towards independence. “Insisting that people be tenancy ready before being offered a tenancy only keeps people excluded, Housing First is inclusive by its very nature.” Many of the people the Basis Beds project houses are out of options, having been turned down by other agencies or find themselves sleeping rough. Basis Beds is the hope they need. Luke, who oversees the project, says, “For me, home is somewhere safe, somewhere to escape the pressures of life, somewhere you can build from and find the space to map out the next steps. It’s important that our homes are comfortable and serve as a place for people to steady themselves and act as a spring board to recovery.” The Basis Beds team provide a holistic approach to housing crisis, linking with other parts of Oasis Community Housing such as our domestic abuse team, Empower, and our employability project, Aspire. They also work closely with partner agencies, local authorities and primary healthcare to ensure steps can be put in place to meet physical, emotional and financial needs. “Recovery is a big part of what we do,” Luke continues. “Many of the people we support have experienced trauma at some stage and it’s important we are ready when they are to support them in the ways they need most.” Nurturing creativity can often play a big role in recovery and self-discovery. The team regularly partner with Handcrafted in Durham to support Basis Beds residents to learn woodwork and carpentry and also apply for funding to enable participants to access art materials. Luke shared some of the recent creations and what they mean for the residents: “One of our residents recently made a table at Handcrafted while he has been living with us. He’s also really into art and model-making. Another is the process of making a bird box for the gardening project. She is really into arts and crafts and has benefited from Bluestone Collaborative funding throughout her stay in Basis Beds.” Find out more about supporting the work of Basis Beds – and our other projects – by making a donation or joining our Cornerstone Givers.
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