1983 saw us open our first permanent joint project with Hyde (and Southbank) Housing Association.
Between 1981 and 1983 the proportion of men staying at St. James’ Shelter who had histories of psychiatric illness increased dramatically. This group of men seemed most vulnerable to poor housing and homelessness in the long term and many faced a future of insecurity and instability with damaging consequences for their already impaired health. There was an obvious need for move-on housing involving care and support for this group of homeless men who used the shelter and in 1982-3 St James’ Management Committee resolved to tackle this need.
The house at Westridge Road was officially opened on October 1st 1983 when the first four men moved in from the Shelter. Designed to accommodate up to seven men with varying needs from histories of mental illness to behavioural and social problems, the house proved to be a real success in terms of moving people out of a temporary environment and into more stable accommodation with many moving on further still to their own independent homes.
Did you work at Westridge Road or St James’ Shelter at this time? Did you live at the Shelter and move to Westridge Road?
We’d love to hear your stories from the early 1980s in the comment box below.