Homelessness / poverty

PACE House: New long-term support for homeless people in Derby

Homelessness is a complex problem and, for many, it is not simply solved by finding a house.  If the underlying causes are not addressed, and active support not provided, then the likelihood is that the individual will bounce between hostels, friend’s sofas, or living on the street – forever – progressively deteriorating.

Derby has a wide range of homelessness provisions ranging from those which are essentially “sticking plasters” to those which are totally committed to a holistic solution to the person’s life situation.  Recently, Derby has seen the opening of a new 30 bed Engagement Centre owned and operated by PACE (Promote Ability Community Enterprise), an independent Community Interest Company (which means that its profits are re-invested back into its charitable purpose which is to “deliver effective affordable services and housing for disadvantaged people in Derby and Derbyshire”)

PACE has been operating for a number of years and already has supported housing throughout the City. Last year the opportunity arose to purchase the old Hartington House in Normanton which, previously, was a temporary hostel for homeless people.  PACE wanted to use this as a more longer term accommodation with sustainable outcomes for their service users hence the term, Engagement Centre.

The property was completely refurbished, to make it a much brighter, cleaner, and attractive building recognising that it would be a temporary home for 30 people. Security is important so there are cameras that ensure safety but which maintain dignity.

PACE House, has 30 single bedrooms. People can either self-refer, or be referred by other agencies. Before anyone is accepted a full risk assessment is carried out, as well as understanding their needs, issues ( drug / alcohol addiction), mental health state etc. It is critical that the person wishes to engage, and that they accept the basic ground rules of the accommodation, and that they can fit in with the other service users. No sex offenders are accepted, and no drugs / alcohol are allowed in the rooms, although  provisions are made where critical addiction problems exist.

All service users have an engagement plan, which is unique to them, and which is reviewed regularly to ensure that they are progressing towards their personal independence , and recovery goals. There are many opportunities for developmental activities, including:

  • Computer training room
  • Allotment area for growing crops, and cooking skills training
  • Budgetting and life skills
  • Farm, near Ashby with livestock
  • Craft workshops
  • Drama and Arts classes

It is recognised that many of the residents will have complex behavioural problems, and life at PACE House will not always be smooth. The staff and support workers have years of experience of these challenges, and are committed to working through such crises. Eviction, whilst a possibility, is a distant threat, as there are very limited options outside of PACE House.

PACE House is not operating in isolation. Spencer Braydon-Phillips, the CEO, is clear that all agencies in the City must work in partnership as the overall problem is much bigger than any one organisation can manage.  He is closely linked with the Council, Milestone and Centenary House, No Second Night Out, the Nightshelters, and Street Safe ( hot food distribution on the street – controlled by PACE) amongst many others, and is open to co-operating with any organisation that can enhance the outcomes for homeless people.

PACE House is independent, and is funded via enhanced Housing Benefits that are designed for people who are living in this style of intensive supported accommodation. It means that they are not tied to the Council, or vulnerable to short term political priorities.

This is a welcome addition to the homelessness provision in the City, and one that has the scope to make a sustainable improvement to the lives of those engaged within the Centre. Sadly, Derby needs many more of these places to address the full extent of the complexity of needs of those who find themselves constantly vulnerable to the prospect of sleeping rough on the streets.


Categories: Homelessness / poverty

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2 replies »

  1. Hi there ,
    Ive just been made aware of this article by a neighbour . We are under care & tenants of Derbyshire home trust (formerly known as PACE housing) . I have just been served an illegal eviction notice for no honest reason .after being visited by the council to talk about the support we are supposed to be receiving here ,that they are getting paid to give us but aren’t . I answered the questions honestly & told them that since I moved into my self contained flat in June 2018 the only real support That I’ve received is help to fill out a housing benefit form . Therefore they have been getting paid for support that we aren’t actually receiving & that is why our housing benefit has been REDUCED not stopped. I was told yesterday that my housing Benifit has been stopped & I am going to be evicted in 7days if I don’t write an appeal letter to the council . After receiving the hand delivered up-opened letter that was just left downstairs for anyone to read containing my illegal eviction notice ,I say again (for no honest reason) being asked to leave in 4 weeks time since this I have had a massive panic attack & have spiralled into a deep depression & I have had several more anxiety attacks since receiving the letter because I’m so scared . I believe that They served that for personal reasons as I have raised many concerns with management & my social worker about the kind of treatment I have suffered from actual staff members. I am a vulnerable transgender female who was reffered to PACE when I arrived in derby fleeing domestic violence, if I would of known that my personal business was going to be told to other residents at the main hostel & to my neighbours in the building of independent flats I live in i wouldn’t of come here .if I would of known that I would have a member of staff writing a status on social media about me , mis-gendering me & labelling me as a “ transvestite” & writing sexual comments about me I would of never of come here for help. I have had a support worker suggest that I “ turn back into a MAN, to make life easier”. Ive also had a member of staff come to my flat at 3am unannounced asking me to score him CRACK COCAINE knowing that I am a recovering addict. This happened after having a disagreement with another staff member where I respectfully challenged his behaviour towards me . Since then the general treatment towards me has not been supportive . My social worker had to put in a safe guard in place to protect me from them . We tried to resolve matters in a three way meeting with the manager but she just lied & proceeded to defermate my character telling my social worker that I have received complaints about having lots of male visitors which is a blatant lie & degrading to say the least , she accepted no responsibility for the way in which I’ve been treated & been made to feel .she did make a lot of false promises about what she would do to help me ,but I knew that this was all just an act to !appease my social worker & that non of what she said would materialise & I was proved right . What I wasn’t expecting was to receive an illegal eviction notice & been given a month to leave . I am not anti-social, aggressive or uncooperative so there is no reason that I couldn’t of been spoken to or warned about being evicted . I’ve not even been given a warning . Now I have learned that the whole company is being shut down I am even more worried about my future . I just wanted you to know my story & let you know that the reason the council has reduced or stopped housing benifit is because we don’t receive the support that they are paid to give . I am just one case & living proof of this .
    What’s happening is effecting tenants company wide NOT just 18 people .

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