Letter of Endorsement from Leeds City Council

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The Howarth Foundation/Hidden Owls The Howarth Foundation (charity registered no 1171635) is a valued and trusted partner of Leeds City Council, and we have sought to support their development in Leeds over the last couple of years as part of the city’s work on rough sleeping and the wider homeless agenda. This support, also includes the establishment of their initiative Hidden Owls. As a small but valued charity they provide a person-centred, caring, and compassionate response to individuals who are homeless or at risk and have demonstrated positive outcomes for people they work with. Ending rough sleeping is a key strategic priority for Leeds and this ambition has the support of senior officers and elected officials across the Council, as evidenced by the recent ‘City Conversation’ that took place (supported by the MHCLG) to discuss how the city can better address people who rough sleep, address their needs and support them into sustainable accommodation as part of a collective transition and recovery framework. There is a strong multi agency partnership in Leeds working on this agenda to reduce rough sleeping and the wider homeless agenda. Delegated governance for Rough Sleeping sits within the Street Support Improvement Board (Gold) chaired by myself. During the pandemic, The Howarth Foundation approached the local authority with an ask to support them in finding, securing, and offering reduced costs with the use of connected retail units, in the district town centre of Armley. The Council moved at pace and worked closely with foundation to enable them to move forward on their ambition. The Howarth Foundation have since launched its training and fund-raising arm ‘Hidden Owls’ to order to become financially self-sufficient. This retail outlet is in the heart of the Armley Town Street and not only offers a service to local people but also provides a safe space for people in need, as part as of their personal recovery journey and reintegration into the community. Hidden Owls currently has several volunteers that fit the criteria, receiving work experience and training within the retail outlet, and has structured a system of referrals with third sector agencies, all who are connected to the Leeds Street Support Partnership. This initiative of preparing individuals to be ‘work ready’ is welcomed and will enable people to ‘move-on’ in their lives and therefore reduce the risk of becoming homeless again in the future. The work of The Howarth Foundation is well respected locally and we wish them well in the endeavours, plans and work going forward.

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