From Homeless To Change Maker

From Homeless To Change Maker

A team manager for HARP, Southend’s Homeless Charity, has been recognised for her contribution to the social housing sector by a leading housing magazine.

Catherine Storey, Team Manager for the charity’s Transitions Service, has been listed as one of the sector’s top leaders, innovators and change makers by Inside Housing’s Women in Housing: Leaders 2020, a celebration of women who have made a real difference in the social housing sector. Catherine is one of just 20 women selected from over 300 nominations.

“I was very honoured to have been nominated for such a highly regarded achievement but I never expected to be selected,” said Catherine. “The fact the judging panel consisted of professionals who are highly respected leaders in this sector makes me very proud.”

Catherine joined HARP in 2015 and has been promoted several times ahead of her present role as Transitions Team Manager, somehow also finding time to achieve a bachelor’s degree, a masters, and qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Housing. Catherine says she has never seen her job as something she “has” to do.

“My job has been and will always continue to be a passion. It is really important to me that we create systems that do not give up on anyone or exclude people from housing,” said Catherine. “I have substantial personal experience of homelessness, addiction and complex needs and I am fortunate that I was given the message of hope and the possibility of abstinence based recovery from someone else with lived experience. I was told that I would never change but that is obviously not the case.”

The Transitions team supports 37 of HARP’s residents who have complex needs caused by multiple disadvantage including mental illness and addiction, which contribute to some of the most chronic cases of homelessness. Under Catherine’s leadership, the team has supported more than 150 people over the last three years alone, advocating a trauma informed approach.

Catherine continued: “No-one deserves to be written-off. Change is always possible and every human being has the right to a home. I passionately believe that this is a system that needs to be advocated for with each individual we work with.”

Catherine was nominated by HARP’s CEO, Jackie Bliss.

Jackie said: “I am absolutely delighted that Catherine has been chosen as one of Inside Housing’s Women in Housing: Leaders 2020. She has every reason to be extremely proud of this fabulous achievement!”

Women in Housing: Leaders 2020 replaces this year’s annual Women in Housing Awards event by Inside Housing, the magazine for housing professionals in the UK. The annual awards ceremony was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The judging panel included a high level panel of women from across the sector including Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter, and the former President of the Chartered Institute of Housing, Alison Inman OBE.

HARP supports people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home in Southend. The charity provides housing and support to people staying in their 222 rooms on their journey to independent living, and gives advice and guidance to people at risk of losing their home. Homeless people in need can also visit HARP’s Bradbury Day Centre to get food, clothing and a shower, on an appointment only basis at present, as well as get the practical support they need to help them escape the streets. More information can be found at: www.harpsouthend.org.uk

Photo: Catherine Storey, HARP’s Transitions Team Manager. She has been recognised by Inside Housing is one of 20 women chosen for their “Women in Housing: Leaders 2020.” She was selected from over 300 nominations.

SAVS
rsavage@savs-southend.co.uk