At a glance


  • Housing and homelessness

Other details

Geographical remit: 


SPEAR's vision: We strive for communities in which anyone facing or experiencing homelessness can quickly move into secure accommodation, get effective support, and work towards their hopes and aspirations.

SPEAR's Mission: To enable homeless people in South and West London to find secure accommodation and work towards a positive future.

SPEAR is a charity working with homeless people in and around Richmond and Merton.  Since 1987, we have offered services to thousands of homeless and vulnerable people, successfully transforming lives and supporting many of our service users to the point that they have achieved total independence.

SPEAR is not just about homelessness and housing – our aim is to support clients to live independently, reach their aspirations and live a fulfilling life.

We support clients to develop new skills, confidence and self-esteem. We know that increased self esteem comes with small steps of change and that all these steps make the difference to maintaining a home and breaking the cycle of homelessness.

We offer excellent services to those most marginalised in society and we strive constantly to improve those services and the lives of our clients.

We are currently working towards the 7 strategic aims below to help meet our vision:

Our strategic aims (2013 – 2016):

  • Be a valued partner in local community responses to homelessness across South & West London
  • Develop local services into integrated and sustainable community pathways
  • Ensure the design, delivery & evaluation of our services reflects the needs and views of those who use them
  • Make adequate accommodation available to meet the needs of homeless people in our local communities
  • Find effective ways to support people with challenging and complex needs
  • Develop new solutions to homelessness with new and existing partners
  • Deliver high quality services through effective and efficient organisational systems


We have learnt that there is no such thing as a typical homeless person, and so our services reflect this diversity.

Clients could have spent years on the street, and may need very intensive support to give them the skills to live independently. Or they may have been made homeless after a job loss or a marriage breakdown, and be able very quickly to move into their own tenancy and get on with their lives.

Outreach work across the borough ensures that we find and offer support to those who are sleeping rough.

Our main hostel, Penny Wade House, is on the Richmond Roundabout. While clients stay here, we work with them to address their support needs and find more permanent accommodation.

Also in Richmond, we operate a hostel for young people who would otherwise face homelessness and a life within the Criminal Justice System. There is also a 9 bedroom property in Merton, the MASH project, which works intensively with young people, enabling real opportunity for change in their lives.

SPEAR also has 5 additional supported accommodation that serves as a bridge between living in the hostel and living independently and sustaining tenancy.  These are called ‘House with Multiple Occupancies’ (HMO).

SPEAR’s Tenancy Sustainment Team is an integrated service for people who have been or are at risk of becoming homeless. Once a service user has been referred to us we can assess what kind of accommodation they would be suitable for and help them to access it.  This could either be a temporary Rough Sleeper’s Initiative training flat, their own council nomination or a flat in the private rented sector.  SPEAR’s Tenancy Sustainment Team support people in temporary and more permanent accommodation  offering advice, resettlement and support to maintain their tenancies.

The South West London Resettlement Service (SWLRS) provides rough sleepers, support and access into accommodation. The team aim to provide support to those who are sleeping rough in the Boroughs of Merton, Sutton and Wandsworth.  The four bed staging post that is located in Merton is immediate accommodation for those in need.

All our services ask clients to sign a support contract. This encourages them to regain control of all aspects of their lives, not just their accommodation. It addresses issues including health, family, legal concerns, substance misuse and emotional wellbeing.

We have a Skills Development Department, who offer all our clients access to daytime activities and support into volunteering, training and employment. We know that increased self esteem comes with small steps of change and that all these steps make the difference to maintaining a home and breaking the cycle of homelessness.

The new SPEAR Homeless Health Link Service launching in Spring 2015 will link current or former rough sleepers from the Richmond, Sutton, Wandsworth, Merton and Kingston boroughs into primary care; supporting mental or physical services.  This approach will reduce the likelihood of more serious long-term illnesses, complex needs and addictions and reduce A&E admissions.

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