Leeds homeless charity finds new home after eviction notice

A Leeds charity which helps street sleepers has narrowly avoided being made homeless itself.
Sheraz Malik, Tom Donegan and Sue Oliver moving into Crown HouseSheraz Malik, Tom Donegan and Sue Oliver moving into Crown House
Sheraz Malik, Tom Donegan and Sue Oliver moving into Crown House

Simon on the Streets was faced with being left without a base during the busiest period of the year after being served with an eviction notice on their offices.

Staff and volunteers emailed out an urgent SOS after being given just two weeks' notice to move out of the premises, along with the building's other tenants.

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Help came by the December 15 deadline when Malik House Business Centres, which owns the Crown House development on Armley Road, offered them state-of-the-art accommodation in the nick of time.

The complex opened last year after a £1million redevelopment of the historic Leeds Forge, and still has vacant units. Malik House staff were able to help the charity move in straight away.

Malik House director Sheraz Malik invited volunteers to view the office space and offered a flexible tenancy.

Simon on the Street development manager Sue Oliver said:

“It would have been a real irony if Simon on the Streets had itself become homeless. For a small charity like ours it was a huge challenge to find affordable new premises in just two weeks without diverting resources from where they are most needed.

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“However, thanks to our supporters and volunteers getting the word out, we’ve been able to achieve a really positive outcome and we now have an ideal permanent home. Crown House gives us easy access to Leeds city centre and other parts of Leeds where there is a lot of work to do. An added bonus for us is that, through Malik House, we can access the support of Yorkshire Enterprise Network which will enable us to reach out to corporates in Bradford and across the county in the same way we have worked very hard to do in Leeds.

“Once we’d got over the shock of the eviction notice, it seemed the obvious thing to reach out to our supporters for help. The response was tremendous, and the volunteers have also rallied round to help us with the move, so we are all feeling very positive again right now.”

The charity works with those who are or are in danger of becoming homeless due to drug and alcohol dependency issues.

Admin and marketing assistant Tom Donegan added:

“What started out as quite a challenging situation has now turned into an opportunity. Despite such short notice, a rallying call to our supporters resulted in an extraordinary response, providing various suggestions and offers of time and resources to help with the move. We are extremely grateful for all the support we have received and delighted to announce that, against the clock, we have found our perfect new home.”

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