Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
Why isn’t the Joel Night Shelter operating right now?
During the lockdown the government is providing accommodation for homeless people – and night shelters are not permitted to operate. However, there remains a need for a variety of additional support services for homeless people and Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness (KCAH) will use the Joel Centre to deliver these.
KCAH have committed to reopen the Joel Centre as a night shelter once again when the situation requires and when the regulations permit.
How is the Joel Centre being used at the moment?
Between January and March, Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness (KCAH) used the Joel Centre as an early morning day centre for anyone sleeping rough and as a venue for The Haven, their roaming winter night shelter.
Joel became a vital hub during the COVID-19 lockdown, providing a safe socially-distanced space needed for over 90 people experiencing homelessness to meet with KCAH staff and be assessed for emergency housing and support (many going into a local hotel). It has also provided space for staff and volunteers to store around 1,200 bags of food and toiletries for those being supported.
Why are you handing over running the Joel Centre to Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness (KCAH)?
In December we took the difficult decision to close the Joel Night Shelter for a period in order to restructure the way we were organised and improve our long term resilience. We have decided that the most effective way to continue providing a quality night shelter in a Christian context was to invite KCAH to apply their experience, expertise and organisational strength to the work of a permanent night shelter.
KCAH have 27 years of experience in providing services to homeless people in the borough and all the necessary management and corporate governance structures in place to make a success of activities running in the Joel Centre. We are confident that they will take the vision forwards while maintaining the core Christian ethos which is central to Peter Holmes’s original vision for Joel.
What services will KCAH provide in The Joel Centre?
It is unlikely that the Joel Centre will be able to revert to being a night shelter with multiple dormitory accommodation for the foreseeable future because of the health risk posed to guests and volunteers. In the meantime, KCAH is using the Joel Centre to respond flexibly to the needs of vulnerable homeless people in the borough.
KCAH are working closely with central government and other agencies to map out an ‘In For Good’ strategy to ensure that the rough sleepers who have recently been housed in a local hotel do not end up back on the streets. The Joel Centre is currently earmarked as potential accommodation for vulnerable people with the most acute needs, supported by specialist key workers.
Who will own the Building?
We know that many supporters made generous gifts and donations to convert the building into a night shelter and accommodation for KCAH. Joel Community Services will remain an independent charitable company and will still own the building itself. This will ensure that the building will always be used for the purposes it was intended.
For more information about Kingston Churches Action on Homelessness please visit: