Wytham Hall, in its initial incarnation (founded 1984), was established to address a need identified by both Great Chapel Street Medical Centre and the medical profession generally. Those involved had begun to recognise the need for somewhere for homeless patients to convalesce following treatment, as a direct return to rough sleeping was undoing their efforts and the alternative lengthy hospital stay was costly, wasteful of resources and not medically necessary otherwise.
At that time Wytham Hall provided temporary accommodation, ongoing medical care and a therapeutic convalescent environment.
As an increasing number of patients began to express a wish not to return to rough sleeping upon discharge, Wytham Hall expanded its service to include some supported housing accommodation. Although this would itself be temporary, it allowed for a more sustained period of input from staff and the attendant opportunity to address deeper rooted problems that were likely to have been at the source of their having become homeless in the first place.
In 2007, this model could no longer be sustained financially and Wytham Hall became focussed on supported housing and remains so to this day.
The classification of someone as ‘Homeless’ refers to a broad spectrum of people and includes groupings that are not necessarily those that initially enter most people’s minds when they think of the subject. Besides rough sleepers, the classification covers those that, upon leaving a rehabilitation centre, or prison, cannot return to their previous home. It also refers to those that are newly arrived in the country and have no home in place. Almost all of our residents remain classified as homeless during their time with us, as our accommodation is classified as ‘temporary’.
Wytham Hall has evolved over the years, and continues to do so, as the needs and nature of those we help, and our resources, have changed. Whilst much has changed, the underlying principles that recognise the individual and seek ways to engage them in a way that is meaningful to them, remains at the heart of what we do.