Birmingham shelter, Tabor House, has continued to support people experiencing homelessness despite being forced to close because of the coronavirus outbreak. And it is now supporting more people than ever.

One of the things that makes Tabor House special is its open-plan accommodation, which allows staff and volunteers to keep a watchful eye over their guests at night. Many people who come to stay at the shelter say they value the security this gives them after being on the streets. However, it meant they couldn’t comply with the government guidelines on social distancing.

When it looked like the shelter would have to close, Birmingham City Council stepped in and offered then accommodation at a nearby hotel. This means guests can self-isolate in private rooms and Tabor House staff can continue to work with them safely.

Since moving to the hotel, the Tabor team have started working with other homeless people who are being accommodated at the hotel. They are offering the same holistic and personalised support that guests receive at Tabor House. This strength-based approach looks at peoples’ aims and ambitions and finds a way to help them achieve these by building on their strengths.

One guest, Sam, said, “I have received the best support I have had in five years. I’ve done better here than anywhere else.”

Tabor House staff Lisa Hoftijzer, Ben Rafiqi, and project manager Sharon Fear are working full time to run the support service at the hotel. With the support of additional staff provided by the council, they are working with more than 50 people.

Another guest said, “The service is the best thing to come out of the COVID crisis, you have helped me so much.”

Using the same approach as with Tabor House guests, they are supporting people to claim relevant benefits and find appropriate accommodation for the future. They are aiming to help each guest find somewhere to move to as they are unsure how long the accommodation at the hotel will be available.

Guests are coping well with the move from the shelter to the hotel, where they are well-supported by the hotel staff. Christy Acton, Deputy Community Projects Manager at Father Hudson’s Care, said “The staff at the hotel have been fantastic and really supportive to our staff team and our guests. The guests are okay. Living by yourself is lonely, but everyone is safe.”

Birmingham Mayor, Councillor Mohammed Azim, wrote to Tabor House to thank the team for their hard work. He described them as being “instrumental in the provision of support to over 50 homeless people throughout this time.”

In his letter, Cllr Azim went on to say, “Please accept my heartfelt thanks to you, and all your team, you truly are heroes in these very challenging times.”

The team aims to re-open Tabor House as soon as it is safe to do so. Until then, they are continuing to support each guest in their care to rebuild and move on.

Tabor House is a partnership project run by Father Hudson’s Care, the Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, Housing Justice, the Birmingham Rough Sleepers Team, corporate philanthropists and other local homelessness specialists.

If you would like more information about Tabor House please contact Christy Acton, Deputy Community Projects Manager at Father Hudson’s Care, on 01675 434064, email Christy Acton or visit