As 2022 draws to a conclusion, it is helpful to reflect back over the year to celebrate successes and learn lessons from those areas that were more challenging. It is also a good time to think about plans for 2023 and beyond.
Our desire is to support our residents who have experienced homelessness. I am continually humbled to serve those we house. Their life stories from hardship towards a life of hope and restoration are an inspiration to me. We have helped nearly 300 residents since we housed our first resident in 2011. We continue to provide housing support for up to 41 residents. In 2022, we supported 25 residents to move forward into their own accommodation, or return to family or friends. We continue to support many residents for up to 6 months after they move on from Restore to ensure they continue to maintain their tenancy. The progress our residents have made in their lives has been truly amazing.
It is good to look back at some of the good moments we enabled during 2022.
We strive to provide high-quality housing for all our residents. We have not taken on more properties in 2022, but have sought to utilise those we have to maximum effect. We have rarely had a time where a room has been vacant, and those times we had a short-term vacancy, we used the time to refurbish the room to a high standard.
As a staff team, we have added 4 new team members in 2022, with 2 team members moving on for family reasons. This net increase has strengthened our team to deliver more services for our residents and increase operational capacity. Whilst this is not the whole team, it is a nice relaxed picture of us being together.
Operationally, we have strengthened what we do. We have reviewed our strategy for the charity. We have upgraded our social media interaction and marketing plans. We have reviewed and updated our policies and improved our existing risk management system to make it even more comprehensive. For you as a reader or a supporter, I hope this gives you the satisfaction that the charity is well run and compliant with all legal and procedural processes.
So, what does 2023 hold for us as a charity? One exciting area of expansion is we are seeking to widen our remit, to include refugee family support for those who have the right to remain in the UK. As we have seen during 2022, York has hosted an increasing number of refugees, particularly from Ukraine. Many of those who arrived were able to secure good local accommodation. However, there are a few who may require additional support for a longer period due to family complexities. We are planning to provide two separate family homes available for rent. This will necessitate Restore working with other support agencies specialising in refugee support. Connections have been made and will be developed over the forthcoming year.
Restore will continue to support those who have become homeless. Our wider strategy is to help prevent others from becoming homeless. We are working alongside One Voice York, Foodbank, St. Michael le Belfrey, Besom, and Christians Against Poverty to identify outcomes we can unify behind to help prevent homelessness, as the country faces increased pressures from the cost-of-living crisis, inflation, and rising interest rates.
Restore is a Christian-based charity that is about so much more than providing people with a place to sleep at night. We want to see people transformed through our work. We care about the whole person and we want to serve the whole person. Our motto is ‘providing homes, giving hope’. We stand by our mandate to proving good quality homes for those in most need, to wrap them with compassionate support, and to gradually unlock increasing hope for the future. Christmas is a time of year which ideally brings families together and gives hope for a better new year. I know personally that Christmas can be a challenging period for many, but equally, I know that as those challenges are gradually overcome, so hope for the future grows. As we celebrate Jesus birth over this Christmas period, I know our true hope is in Jesus to bring peace and joy.
As I lead Restore into 2023, I carry forward those happy pictures of residents and staff working together to find new pathways of hope. I am excited at the prospect of expanding our horizons to help even more individuals – and families – discover a better future.
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year.