Arena Community began a supported housing programme at the end of 2014 for vulnerable individuals in the community. People often arrived at foodbank who were homeless or who wanted to change their lives but did not know where to start.
The supported housing programme provides both a safe place to live and a support network. The houses have either 2 or 3 bedrooms, and provide rooms for male and female tenants, but not mixed tenancy. Each tenant is provided with a programme tailored to their needs in order to help them improve their quality of life, develop skills, volunteer and eventually get into work.
Our team of support workers spend time every day with tenants providing assistance with applying for benefits, finding courses and attending appointments. Our tenants are also given a budget which allows them to attend a hair salon every 6 weeks, or it may help purchase items of clothing etc.
Some of our tenants ask that we save it to a certain amount to enable them to buy a more expensive item such as a new pair of shoes. This helps our tenants with their confidence and self-worth. Support workers visit the tenants daily and assist in various activities, or teach basic cooking skills.
We also teach these adults how to adapt as many have been vulnerable for most of their life. There is also an arts and craft group that runs every Monday at Belfield Street that is free for all tenants. They make high-quality greetings cards and other handmade gifts that are sold at The Project. Other activities include Bible studies, gym membership, walks, picnics and days trips.