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Oasis Community Housing (OCH) are a homeless charity that was founded in 1984 by students who wanted to support and help people who were homeless in Gateshead. They have grown over the years to provide supported accommodation and homeless services across Gateshead, Sunderland, South Tyneside, Southwark and Croydon.
They believe in prevention and intervention. Their four cornerstones of support, address both the immediate needs and root causes of homelessness. This includes; supporting those who are rough sleeping to find somewhere safe to stay, operating a first type solution to housing, supported accommodation for young homeless, providing a domestic abuse service for individuals at risk of and suffering from domestic abuse, and employability support to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
At OCH, every member of the team and all clients are valued for who they are, embracing their individuality and uniqueness. Colleagues are dedicated and committed to providing the best possible service to clients, regularly going beyond what is expected of them.
OCH firmly believe the need to treat their own team members with the same respect that they provide their clients. Colleagues are shown kindness and compassion when they are experiencing difficulties in either their personal or professional lives, and as an organisation they are as flexible as they can be in supporting them.
“As Chief Exec of Oasis Community Housing, I’m always proud of the incredible work that our staff do to serve people who find themselves homeless and in crisis. However, in this pandemic year – a year like no other – my respect for them couldn’t be deeper. They have persevered, they have lived up to our values, they have weathered the storm, and they have literally saved lives. For OCH to be awarded ‘very good’ levels of employee engagement through a 1 star accreditation in these circumstances, is an incredible achievement, and we’re delighted to receive it.” - David Smith, Chief Executive
The leadership team have held weekly zoom staff calls lasting between 30 mins and 1 hour, which have involved all staff that were able to attend to disseminate information, good news stories and keep staff updated with what is happening across the organisation. This has allowed both staff who are working from home as well as staff who are working in their projects to attend the meetings.
At the start of the pandemic swathes of people who were sleeping rough were placed into hotels. Concerned about their access to basic necessities and communication barriers, OCH quickly coordinated the goodwill from local churches and community organisations to provide a hot meal for each person every day and took responsibility for ensuring that each had access to a mobile phone to engage with support whilst staff worked remotely. The housing projects OCH support with have remained open and while the risks were too high for face to face support, staff creatively provided support to all residents, using methods such as Whatsapp, Zoom, text, phone, and email.
Learn more about the 8 factors of workplace engagement here
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