On Friday 14 March 2008 Stephen Timms MP visited the national headquarters of Crisis, the charity for single homeless people. Through direct provision and advocacy Crisis aims to fight homelessness and empower people to fulfil their potential and transform their lives.
Stephen had a chance to look round the impressive building on Commercial Street, London E1, and to meet various staff members and service users. The building is also a "Skylight centre" and homeless people can take part in free practical and creative workshops ranging from bicycle repair to performing arts and “The Learning Zone”, which launched in September 2005 offers a range of free courses to those who are homeless, ex-homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Classes take place in small groups and lead to accredited qualifications.
Working in partnership with Newham College, a number of homeless people from Newham regularly attend the centre and receive support and encouragement. The Skylight café at the building is staffed by some service users and Stephen was able to talk with staff in the café about their experience of the help they have received through Crisis.
Commenting on the visit Stephen Timms said: "I was very impressed to see the longstanding commitment of Crisis to the homeless and interested to see some of the many different initiatives they are pursuing as an organisation to help deal with homelessness. As a result of the zeal of the many committed staff since the charity was founded in 1967, many homeless people have been not only helped into accommodation but to rebuild their lives. I warmly commend their excellent work."