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Putting a face on homelessness

by | May 27, 2013 | Daughters of Charity, Formation, Systemic change, Vincentian Family

A powerful 2 minute video used  by a Vincentian systemic change project to reach 650,000 people on behalf the homeless in one day.

The Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul in collaboration with Westminster Cathedral  administer The Passage, London’s largest voluntary sector day centre for homeless and vulnerable people. Each day they help more than 200 men and women.

vip-logoVincentians in Partnership (http://www.vip-gb.org/) is an umbrella organisation set up to foster networking and collaboration among those organisations in Great Britain which are influenced by the spirit of St Vincent de Paul. The ethos of the Vincentian Family is rooted in the Gospels and may be best summed up by these words of Jesus: “Whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you do it to me.”

Its main activities are:

  • Communication and networking
  • Promoting Vincentian Vision & Values 
  • Developing Vincentian Spirituality
  • Lobbying and Working for Justice
  • Projects to support vulnerable people

The Passage is part of a 400-year-old international experience of the alleviation of poverty.

In 1863 Vincent’s Daughters of Charity opened the building on Carlisle Place, which is currently the home of The Passage Day Centre, The Passage Outreach Project and Montford House, and the work for homeless people can be traced back to that time.

  • The Passage respects and celebrates its founding ethos, retaining close links with the Daughters of Charity and Westminster Cathedral, and enjoys the support of a wide range of individuals and organisations. In keeping with its long tradition, The Passage strives to represent a respect for freedom, a passion for justice and a sharing of compassion for those otherwise passed by as invisible, set aside as having no social worth or disregarded as politically without influence.
  • The Passage places primary value on the basic human right to freedom of choice, housing, health services, and occupational opportunities, rejecting social and financial exclusion and working to remove obstacles that prevent the advancement of quality of life for homeless and disadvantaged people. We seek to address the individual needs of each homeless person in a holistic way, and all that we do is shaped and driven by this aim.
  • The Passage recognizes that the values it holds are not exclusive to Christianity, but they are distinctive and must be reflected in all its activities, policies and collaborative ventures.
  • The Passage provides a chaplaincy for those who seek it and a listening ear for the effects of “inner homelessness”. It does not engage in any form of direct evangelism or the promulgation of any particular faith.
  • The Passage respects the beliefs and cultures of all who come in contact with it and has a holistic approach to service delivery.
  • The Passage is committed to providing the best possible quality services and consistency across the organisation, placing high value on a safe and welcoming environment for its users, staff and volunteers.
  • The Passage has a strong culture of volunteering which is crucial to our nature as a voluntary organisation. We believe that our ethos is greatly enhanced by those who give freely of their time and talent.

Whilst maintaining its independence, The Passage seeks to work collaboratively, in partnership with central and local government, and with other statutory and voluntary agencies, to work towards ending rough sleeping and ensuring the best possible options for homeless people. The Passage seeks to provide an honest voice for justice and where necessary discreetly mediates between the environment and those in need.

The Passage fulfills its mission by providing:

  • Day Centre services offeringoutreach services to contact rough sleepers.
    • basic care
    • individual assessment and advice
    • health
    • housing
    • pastoral and spiritual care
    • education, training and employment.
  • hostel accommodation moving towards re-settlement and further steps to independence.
  • supported semi-independent accommodation moving towards independence and re-integration.

The Passage aims to:

  • give priority to the most vulnerable rough sleepers and insecurely housed;
  • have a flexible and professional approach to the work which enables sufficient breadth to meet the needs of the individual;
  • ensure that all members of staff and volunteers receive appropriate training, managerial support and affirmative encouragement in order to meet these aims;
  • provide service users with opportunities to contribute fully in the life of The Passage and to have a genuine voice in the way that services are delivered and developed.

 

 

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