News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda — HOME, the registered charity working to end homelessness in Bermuda, has released its 2023 Annual Report, highlighting its mission’s milestones—including identifying the island’s “hidden homeless,” providing shelter and case-management to a growing number of clients, and leading the collaborative national launch of the Plan to End Homelessness.

Among its achievements during 2023, HOME:

• Took on 190 new clients and provided intensive case management to 42

• Continued the success of the Housing-First programme—to date, fewer than 10% of participants have returned to homelessness

• Identified 811 people experiencing homelessness in Bermuda

• Conducted 3,738 one-on-one case-management sessions

• Assisted 27 people to find a home with a family member and prevented 37 new cases of homelessness

• Advanced the Plan to End Homelessness, co-sponsored by HOME and the Ministry of Youth, Social Development & Seniors, to the final public consultation stage, after hundreds of hours of collaboration with stakeholders across the social services ecosystem.

Since its launch in September 2021, HOME has worked closely with the Bermuda government, agencies, charities, religious organisations and the wider community to track, reduce and end homelessness.

Through its Housing-First programme at its Black Circle property in Hamilton, HOME provided shelter and support to five cohorts of eight high-risk homeless individuals in 2023, helping them acquire the tools needed to work towards sustainable independent living.

HOME integrated restorative techniques into case-management services last year with the aim of rebuilding relationships between clients and families. This resulted in 16 tenants and 13 community clients finding a home with family members.

Denise Carey, HOME’s CEO and executive director, said: “Housing exclusion is a national issue and we need to address it together, as a country, with urgency. Every day, we at HOME hear the stories of people living through their own personal housing crisis. In 2023, HOME’s small and dedicated team provided an average of more than 10 one-on-one case-management sessions for every day of the year, a stark indication of the need for support.

“As of the end of 2023, we recorded 811 people experiencing homelessness, as our annual survey made further progress in identifying Bermuda’s ‘hidden homeless,’ in addition to new cases driven predominantly by the lack of affordable housing and the cost-of-living crisis.”

The annual report highlights HOME’s progress and future plans under five strategic priorities:

• Helping homeless individuals and families receive shelter, health and social services

• Preventing episodes of homelessness

• Nurturing a whole-system approach to end homelessness

• Charting a course for, and tracking progress in, preventing, reducing, and ending homelessness

• Designing and operating a leading third-sector organisation

Arthur Wightman, HOME’s founder and non-executive Chair, said: “HOME’s remarkable team continues to save and transform lives in the most challenging of circumstances. The many success stories we have heard—and the resilience and determination of our clients to turn their lives around—reinforce the HOME Board’s optimism that our goal of ending homelessness is achievable.

“The development of the Plan to End Homelessness, a pivotal part of HOME’s strategy, was a significant milestone in 2023. As the plan moves to implementation this year, HOME will apply our leadership towards a move away from a crisis-based, fragmented system to a trauma-informed, prevention-focused, whole-system approach to homelessness, centred on the individual’s needs.

“A serious bottleneck to progress is the severe shortage of safe, secure and affordable housing, which is preventing even those who have the necessary support from exiting a state of homelessness. We estimate that the shortfall is in the hundreds of units.

“An end to homelessness cannot happen without demand for change from across the community. We are pleased to see an increase in public awareness, as well as a shift in perceptions and media reporting away from negative stereotypes. The support we have received from across the community, including our generous donors and volunteers, has been inspiring as we work towards a Bermuda in which everyone has a place to call home.”

One of several testimonials in the annual report from clients of HOME’s Housing-First programme reads: “I was living in my car. HOME took me in and gave me a place to stay. Now my health has improved. HOME is superb and is needed island-wide. I thank them for everything they’ve done for me. When I get back on my feet, I want to help others like they helped me.”

To read the annual report, learn more about HOME, or to donate, visit the website, www.home.bm