Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness



1. What is Caritas Anchor House?

Caritas Anchor House is a residential and life skills centre in Canning Town, East London. We give a home and support to over 220 homeless residents each year and receive around 12,000 visits from local community members accessing our services.

2. What type of referrals do you take?

We accept single homeless men and women aged over 18 with low to medium support needs. Referrals must have a local connection to Newham, and we do not accept arsonists or sex offenders. Find out more here.

3. Where do you accept referrals from?

Principally but not exclusively, our referrals come from the London Borough of Newham Housing Options Team and London Probation. Other referrals may come direct from prison, refugee councils, Newham hospitals and specialist substance misuse agencies. Find out more here.

4. Who do you help? 

Caritas Anchor House supports those who have been affected by homelessness, substance abuse, mental health, domestic abuse, offending, unemployment and a lack of education. Many of our residents have a combination of these needs.  Residents are accepted regardless of gender, race, creed, religion or ethnicity.

5. How long do residents stay with you? 

The average length of stay is approximately nine months, but is dependent upon need for rehabilitation and residents are not turned away if support is still required. Due to the housing crisis, it is becoming increasing difficult for our residents to find a home and therefore move out of Caritas Anchor House.

6. Why do you have more male residents than female?

When Anchor House was founded, it was a male environment for seafarers and today the majority of referrals for hostel accommodation are for men. This is because single homeless women have more options on referral if they have children, which gives them statutory rights to housing; or they might need to live in a non-male environment for a while. We have one floor out of five designated solely for women which accommodates 23 people.

7. Do residents have a choice of activities?

Our programme provides a range of activities that address the entire needs of a person, from basic education to healthy physical and emotional wellbeing.

On arrival, every resident completes a self assessment with their Keyworker, so that they can decide what areas they need to focus on, whether that’s social relationships, self-care, health, money management, or something else. They then develop their own plan of action, which will include a programme of volunteering, training, education, health and nutrition and recreational activities.

8. What makes you different from other homeless charities?

We actively strive to support people into paid employment and into independent living with their own tenancies. 

As part of this process we foster a spirit of respect and responsibility, and encourage residents to help and mentor each other. We also offer employment and volunteering opportunities within Caritas Anchor House, which promotes self-esteem, skills development and confidence. We provide facilities for external work-based training providers, who offer training and qualifications in construction, catering and customer services. We monitor and evaluate all our activities in a continual quest for improvement.

9. What is your relationship to the Church?

The former charity, Anchor House, was established in 1962 by the Catholic London Inter-Diocesan Council of the Apostleship of the Sea. Caritas Anchor House is modelled on a modern social welfare charity, but retains its Christian values for alleviating poverty and suffering. We are an independent Catholic charity, however, residents and staff are selected without discrimination as to race, ethnic background or creed. 

On 1st January 2014, we changed our charity name from Anchor House to Caritas Anchor House. Find out more about this name change here.

10. Why do you need charitable funding?

Charitable funding ensures that Caritas Anchor House is able to provide services to homeless and vulnerable people. Find out more about our services here.

11. How do I know my money will be well spent?

Caritas Anchor House is a registered charity (No: 1147794) and has to meet rigorous audit requirements. Our accounts are a public record (find them here), and our Trustees have a legal duty to spend charitable funds prudently and according to donors’ wishes, where these are explicit. For every £1 invested in Caritas Anchor House, we provide a social return of £3.98 - find out more here.

12. What happens to your unrestricted reserves?

Unrestricted reserves are used to make provision for unforeseen circumstances, such as the loss of a major funder or income stream. They also serve as an investment reserve to help generate income, or fund new projects or initiatives. Our Trustees report annually on the reserves policy under charity accounting rules.

13. How does the charity manage risk?

Caritas Anchor House has established an Audit, Risk Remuneration Committee (ARRC) who, at an organisation-wide level,  are responsible for ensuring the adequacy of risk management, internal control and governance arrangements, and the quality and integrity of financial reports of the organisation. The ARRC is a committee reporting into the Trustee Board.

The charity has a robust approach to managing risks and residents are also engaged in this process when they arrive, working with their Keyworkers to assess any risks to their achieving their personal development goals and plans for the future.

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