We are SIFA Fireside. What do we do? We support homeless and vulnerably housed adults by meeting their everyday needs and enabling them to successfully move on. SIFA Fireside are here to stand by our clients as they rebuild their lives with safety and dignity.

Prevention

The Adult Support Hub (ASH) strives for early intervention and homelessness prevention for single adults and childless couples aged over 25 in Birmingham. Funded by Birmingham City Council, ASH provides tailor-made services for each individual’s set of unique circumstances. This can range from offering money and welfare benefits advice, health and wellbeing services and guidance with regards to specialist housing.

Maintaining employment is, of course, an integral part of preventing homelessness which is why SIFA Fireside hosts Job Clubs and CV workshops, English Language sessions and regularly signposts clients to employability training and budgeting workshops. 

Case Study

“ ‘Bill’ was struggling in his current living situation due to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and could not access Personal Independence Payments. This was having a detrimental impact on his health and threatened his current living arrangement.

As a Veteran, Bill was reluctant to trust mental health services due to negative previous experiences. But due to the rapport built with SIFA, Bill agreed to be referred to a specialist Veteran’s Mental Health service (TILS) which he previously had no idea existed. 

Through ASH, Bill is rebuilding his life. He has a representative for housing options and receives support from Adult Social Care and occupational/physiotherapy. Bill is linked with support for his long-term health conditions and mental health and he is being supported to maximize his income.  

Bill continues to receive ASH support though 3-way calls with specialist services. This helps to manage potential frustration as he explains his ambitions and challenges.”

Crisis

From hot meals and food parcels, showers and clean clothes, to conversation and an internet connection, our Drop-in Centre enables clients’ basic needs to be met, all of the time. Our services don’t stop after meal times though; we can provide a ‘Care Of’ postal address, safe document storage and access to a range of health services including a nurse, optician, chiropractor, podiatrist and mental health support.

SIFA Fireside is also part of a consortium set up to focus on women’s rough sleeping, with the emphasis on creating a pathway model for prevention, crisis and resettlement. We engage in outreach and specific services which enable vulnerable women to see SIFA Fireside as a safe space in which to rebuild their lives with dignity.

Case Study 

“ ‘Jim’ suffers from claustrophobia and anxiety which left him unable to settle in a hostel or supported accommodation, contributing to 15 -20 years of rough sleeping. 

With reduced numbers in the Drop-In due to government restrictions, SIFA was able to provide a more personalised approach to his support. This included an alternative housing pathway and developing rapport with Jim, which lead to SIFA’s discovery of his love of music. Jim settled into a city centre hotel shortly after with a digital radio assisting his transition.

This level of trust in SIFA also enabled Jim to be able to engage with our on-site DWP Outreach Worker in order to set up his Universal Credit and receive benefits for the first time in 17 years. Jim is now receiving support from BSMHFT (Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust) for his anxiety and claustrophobia and focusing on addiction recovery.”

Recovery

One of our main aims is to get to a point where our clients don’t need SIFA Fireside anymore. This journey to independence includes access to mental health services, the teaching and development of life skills, advice to find and keep accommodation, legal advice signposting and specialist services for specific client groups.

Our Drop-In Centre has recently started to welcome an increasing number of individuals from an Easter and Central European background. Our newly appointed Central and Eastern European Project Worker is situated at SIFA specifically to support this group of clients in everything from translation, to job applications and official documentation retrieval.

Our Tenancy Support Services works alongside clients to make sure that their tenancy is sustainable through advice on Welfare Benefits and Universal Credit, interactive Finance and Budgeting workshops and even ensuring that houses are sufficiently furnished.  

Getting into the world of work is essential to a successful move on for our clients. Our Building Employability programme raises awareness of the challenges that former homeless or exploited individuals face when trying to secure gainful employment. In conjunction with our corporate partners, we provide specialist training and advice to organisations who are striving to make their employment more accessible.

Our Anti-slavery and Modern Homelessness service works in partnership with the West Midlands Anti-Slavery Network and Birmingham City Council. This service focuses on providing awareness training for organisations whose employees or clients may have experienced, or currently be at risk of modern slavery, as well as raising awareness across the region and directly supporting clients who are at risk of exploitation. 

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