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Though truly within our grasp, 2012 is seriously threatened by a new risk of chaos and vulnerability.

Chairman Ken Olisa 26

Chaotic and vulnerable. Two words at the heart of homelessness. Living rough on the streets of the world’s greatest capital city can never be conducive to an ordered life. And an existence far from the comforts the rest of us take for granted leaves a homeless person vulnerable. Vulnerable to crime, to disease, to drugs and to the destruction of relationships. Although challenging, the last year has boosted our confidence that street homelessness in London will be ended – once and for all – by 2012. The uplifting stories throughout this report illustrate our progress towards that goal. Progress measured through our capacity to help even more people bring order to their chaotic lives and to rebuild their self-esteem – the best antidote to vulnerability.

The need to halve the £180 billion deficit means that our commissioners are anticipating budget cuts of at least 25%. There are also impending changes to the benefits system that could have a destabilising impact on people who have recently escaped rough sleeping and lead some to return to the street. The impact of these changes will have massive consequences for Thames Reach. We are immensely proud of the quality of our work and of the cost effectiveness of our services which, by creating stability and reducing chaos, deliver significant savings to the public purse. That our work’s social benefits clearly outweigh their financial costs is conveyed powerfully throughout this review. We hope that over the coming months the commitment to protecting quality services that can transform lives will prevail over the temptation to retreat to a slash and burn approach.

Ken Olisa is pictured in the garden of the Thames Reach Stamford Street hostel for former rough sleepers with resident Susan Palmer.

There is hope however. The coalition government’s ‘Big Society’ plays totally to our strengths. The core concept – that agencies of proven quality will work with local communities to deliver material social improvement – is pure Thames Reach. Unfortunately connecting what we do to what the Government wants, without disrupting services or capitulating on our immovable 2012 goal, won’t be easy. Success will require: firm leadership; tolerance

from our staff, service users, partners and funders; and a commitment to finding innovative solutions to the cure and prevention of homelessness. This report proves that we have all three. There is trauma ahead, but I am confident that we will ride the Big Society’s wave to the lasting benefit of the chaotic and vulnerable. Thank you. Ken Olisa Chairman

Thames Reach Annual Review 2010  

Thames Reach's Annual Review 2010 looks at how some of the capital's most vulnerable people have been helped by the charity over the past 12...

Thames Reach Annual Review 2010  

Thames Reach's Annual Review 2010 looks at how some of the capital's most vulnerable people have been helped by the charity over the past 12...

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