May 14, 2015

Supporting Colchester Night Shelter

At HAT we believe firmly in being citizen architects in our locality, and demonstrating this in a variety of ways. Whether building an outdoor classroom for a local school, supporting community initiatives such as Hythe Forward by undertaking project work at heavily discounted rates, sitting on the Creative Colchester board as well as the boards of other local charities, or simply using local suppliers, we try to put our values into practice as much as we can.

Our latest effort at this is to have begun a partnership with the Colchester Night Shelter, which provides vital services to the homeless in our community. We are in the business of designing homes, but we don't get to decide where or how affordable they are, so it seems particularly appropriate to support an organisation that meets a need that is, sadly and scandalously, growing, for reasons that don't need restating.

One of the challenges they face, in supporting their users back into more permanent accommodation or other services, is that they commonly lack any valid ID, which is essential to register them or for them to access any benefits. The costs of getting new valid ID comes with fees, mainly for the reissue of birth certificates, which are unaffordable to most users. We have therefore set up an 'ID Fund' with the Night Shelter, to fund this need, and are making a monthly contribution. It will be interesting to see how this trial goes and we hope that it provides some small but tangible benefit to a part of our community that is very much in need.


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