Spotlight on services

Crisis' radical approach changes lives 

“Twenty years ago, Crisis opened its first Skylight centre. Before that, we’d focused mainly on helping people in the depths of winter, especially at Christmas. And we’d campaigned for change.

“But with our first Skylight, we could do even more to help. Everyone who came to the Skylight on Commercial Street in London was given an entry card and made a ‘member’, a friendly, inclusive approach which still continues today.

“We were a tiny team and things evolved organically, but right from the outset, we focused on our members’ personal development. It was a pioneering approach and at the 2004 Charity Awards, the centre was recognised at as a true innovator in tackling homelessness.

“The Skylight was an education and training centre, providing activities and support for people living in hostels, night shelters, sofa surfing and sleeping on the streets. Arts classes, a Learning Zone and training café helped people get an education and work experience. It worked so well, the Skylight London approach soon spread to cities and areas in our three nations. And the rest as they say is history.

“Since our first Skylight opened, we have helped tens of thousands of people out of homelessness. And we continue to research and influence the government to end homelessness for good.

"Thank you for making it possible.”

Micky Walsh, Head of Organisational Development

How you're changing lives

Thanks to your support, we offer new members initial needs assessments, where we talk through their situation and make a plan together. People might need help with anything from claiming benefits or building their confidence and independence to taking a qualification to help them find work.

Kemi's story 

Kemi lived with a foster family, until she was taken into care at 16. She began work and met someone, but when she became pregnant the relationship broke down. She couldn’t get the support she needed to find a suitable home. At Crisis, she was introduced to her coach, Steve. “From the first time we spoke, I felt very welcomed, and supported. He listened to everything I said and took it on board. If I was not feeling well, I could just call and speak to him.” 

Crisis supporters like you help people to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good. Thank you so much. 

Through group sessions and one-to-one therapy with clinical psychologists, your support helps members improve their mental and physical wellbeing. We work closely with people experiencing complex mental health problems, helping them get specialist help and accommodation as quickly as possible.

Stephen's story 

Stephen became homeless after his marriage ended. He ended up rough sleeping in a public toilet and then a shelter, where he heard about Crisis.

“It has been a real lifeline. I have had struggles with my mental health. I was totally isolated. It’s been fantastic to keep in touch with Crisis over the phone and by Zoom. I’ve been helping with interviews for a director role at Crisis recently, which was like going from rejection to acceptance and respect.” 

Members can access a vast array of courses and qualifications online – helping them take another critical step forwards. We also offer vocational skills, including retail and hospitality traineeships in our shops.

Laura's story 

Laura became homeless when she didn’t receive the support she needed after her mum died of cancer. But thanks to coaching and courses she’s done, she’s now a self-employed illustrator.

“I’ve done courses in everything from mental health to budgeting. My coaches have been amazing with one-to-one support and helped me to apply for a grant so that I could train to be an illustrator. I know Crisis will always be there for me.” 

Members can access a vast array of courses and qualifications online – helping them take another critical step forwards. We also offer vocational skills, including retail and hospitality traineeships in our shops.

Stefan's story 

Stefan moved to the UK from Bulgaria when he was 15, as his father couldn’t accept him being gay. He lived with his aunt, until she lost her job in the pandemic and they were forced to sleep rough for months.

“I was moved into a hotel and Crisis helped me access benefits and open a bank account for customers with no fixed abode. Crisis helped me find a job in a café. I am enjoying learning lots of new things.” 

We’re giving people the support they need to move into permanent homes; like providing renting ready courses, finding properties, arranging online viewings and negotiating agreements with landlords.

Jonathan's story 

Jonathan’s marriage ended before lockdown, then he lost his job as a teacher. He lived in his car for months and took an overdose, but thankfully survived.

“Just to have a bed has given me a bit of my life back. Crisis have been brilliant – they’ve been given me my confidence back. My mental health has improved – I don’t feel as anxious. Now I’ve got that stable place to live, I’m 100 times better.” 

Crisis supporters like you help people to rebuild their lives and leave homelessness behind for good. Thank you so much. 

Cost of Living Crisis

Right now, people are anxious about how they will keep up with rising rents, pay their energy bills and have enough food to eat. Low wages and insecure work, combined with inadequate welfare support have left people on low incomes straining under the weight of price increases they can’t afford. More and more people are at risk of being pushed into debt and homelessness. So, we’re urging the UK Government to urgently invest in housing benefit while also building the social homes we need to truly tackle homelessness. 

How we're supporting members

Goodbye to the Cafe

Our Commercial Street café closed its doors for the final time in June. To mark 18 years of helping end homelessness for countless member trainees, staff from our London Skylight joined with customers and Crisis members past and present for a Poetry and Art evening.

Yes, there were tears but also laughter and some happy memories shared.

We'd like to share this message from Charlie and the team:

"We’ve loved and laughed and cried and now it’s time to say to say goodbye. Please continue to fight for social justice and good coffee. Shine On!"