In December 2020, QSA merged with longstanding charity, Quaker Homeless Action (QHA).
With a great sense of privilege, QSA has now taken on QHA’s mission of offering practical assistance to and a voice for homeless and marginalised people in Britain.
Researching unmet needs in a time of crisis
In preparation for the merger, QSA undertook research to understand and identify unmet needs within the field of homelessness prevention and response, with a particular focus on what had changed as a result of the pandemic. We wanted to understand where we could creatively respond using QSA’s existing strengths and resources.
We convened online listening exercises with former QHA volunteers, trustees and supporters. We also consulted with a range of people working in homelessness and related sectors, and reviewed news articles and reports on homelessness and on designing solutions to complex problems.
Cook Up - a kitchen space for people without access to one
QSA’s new project, Cook Up, is providing a shared kitchen space for people without access to one. An emerging theme from our research showed that people who are homeless can have limited options when it comes to food choices. People living in hostel accommodation won’t always feel safe in their shared kitchen space, those in B&Bs might only have a microwave or kettle, and those living on the streets have no kitchen at all.
Though there are many much needed initiatives supplying meals to people who are homeless, as far as we know, there are no initiatives helping them to cook their own food. Cook Up provides a safe and welcoming space for people to cook their own meals and choose what they eat.
Turn a Corner - a community library for people affected by homelessness
Turn a Corner, based on QHA’s mobile library, provides a community space and library for people affected by homelessness to increase wellbeing through connection, conversation and reading. The van is currently based at locations across central London, offering a free library lending service with no fixed address or membership required to borrow a book. Supported by volunteers, the team also provides guidance on connecting with other local services and distributes resources and donated items such as sleeping bags, clothing and hygiene products.
Turn a Corner also provides an opportunity for QSA to continue our learning by speaking to people with lived experience of homelessness.
Support for the Covid-19 Homeless Taskforce
QSA provided a £10,000 grant to support the work of the Covid-19 Homeless Taskforce: a group of small, independent, community organisations and charities, working alongside people experiencing homelessness during the challenging winter of 2020–21.
The grant contributed towards:
Accommodation at the YHA for 16 LGBTIQ+ guests of the Outside Project
- 4,411 early morning breakfasts on the streets in Camden
- 7,545 evening meals/interactions across nine boroughs
- 4,774 bedtime check-ins and hot drinks/ snacks in Westminster
- The pilot of a grassroots vaccination programme in Camden for people affected by homelessness, with over 30 people vaccinated