12 Nov 2019

INTERVIEW | Sarah Farquhar, Crisis UK

In the lead up to World Homelessness Day, CFC’s Julie Padovani sits down with Sarah Farquhar of Crisis.

What is World Homelessness Day?
World Homelessness Day is an annual event that will take place on the 10thof October.  It is an internationally recognised day to raise awareness of the global issue of homelessness and the work to help those affected by it and to call for an end to homelessness once and for all.

How does Crisis raise awareness for World Homelessness Day and how can you get involved?
We raise awareness of World Homelessness Day by encouraging people to take action and show support for ending homelessness –  take a campaign action, volunteer with a project in your local community and make a donation to support an organisation working with homelessness people.

After a recent report about the rise in number of homeless households, you’ve started the #CovertheCost campaign. Can you explain more about what it is and how it’s helping?

Crisis is calling on Government to invest in Local housing allowance and prevent more people from losing their home, saving money in the long run. In 94% of areas in Britain one in five or less private rented homes are affordable to single people, couples or small families who need housing benefit. If the UK Government invested in housing benefit so it covered the cheapest third of private rents it could prevent thousands of people becoming homeless. Without action the number of people experiencing the worst forms of homelessness will more than double in the next two decades.

How long has Crisis been operating?
Crisis marked its 50thanniversary in 2018. We didn’t celebrate but marked the milestone by writing a plan to end homelessness that sets out the solutions to ending homelessness in the UK and provides a blueprint for governments and policy makers. Everybody In: How to end homelessness in Great Britain.

How many Crisis shops and cafes are in London and the UK?
Crisis has 7 shops and a café in London and expects to open two shops before Christmas. It is our intention to have between 12-15 shops and some and some of these will contain coffee bars . Our shops and cafes raise money to fund Crisis work, provide training opportunities for homeless people looking to pursue a career in retail and create new ways to engage with Crisis supporters.

Have you found a rise in interest for shopping in your Crisis stores following Oxfam’s #secondhandseptember initiative?
Crisis shops are having a good September. I don’t know if this can be attributed to the Oxfam campaign but I am delighted that our customers continue to tell us how much they like shopping with us and donating their time.

If there is one thing you could tell people about Crisis, what is it?
Crisis is determined to end homelessness in the UK. We believe that this is achievable and to demonstrate our belief we have recently announced a partnership with Newcastle City Council where we both committed to end homelessness in the city within 10 years. We are commissioning an audit of the current provision and will use the findings to design a new approach to ensure that homelessness is prevented and ended.

 

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