DASH began life as the Durham Cyrenians in 1972, part of the national Cyrenians organisation. It was founded by people who were concerned about the plight of single homeless men.

Short stay accommodation was provided in rented houses. Young men and women volunteers lived in the projects helping and supporting residents. They received free board and pocket money in return for their efforts.

This continued until the mid 1980’s but increasing difficulties in recruiting suitable volunteer workers and the changing nature of homelessness meant the organisation had to change. Professional, salaried staff were employed, paid for with funding from national charities.

In 1988 DASH officially changed its name to Durham Action on Single Housing. The main office was at Harry Mears House which was a property that provided shared accommodation to tenants.

From 2002 DASH started to expand further, purchasing houses to provide accommodation for both short stay and long stay tenants. The DASH staff team also expanded to provide support to the growing number of tenants.

In 2006 the Churchill Square Emergency Accommodation scheme was launched. The flats, owned by Durham City Homes, were refurbished and used for accommodating people in immediate need, referred from the Council. The property has since become the base for our Vulnerable Women’s Project.

In 2008 DASH started to provide floating support as a part of the Stonham Housing Durham Homestay project. We continued to provide this support on a sub contract basis until 2016 when reductions in Council funding forced Stonham to end provision through DASH and the staff involved were transferred to Stonham Housing.

DASH has continued to grow as an organisation and to buy and lease properties to house people with housing need, including people with mental health issues.

40th AnniversaryIn 2012 the Senior manager at DASH sadly passed away and the management of the organisation shifted to the two Operational Managers and the Finance and Resources Officer. This arrangement was successful and was therefore formalised by the DASH Board in 2014.

2012 was also a year of celebration as it was the 40th Anniversary of the organisation. Pictured left to right; Edward Kenmir, Sean McDonnell, Madeleine Ashdown and Barry Worth.

The various DASH projects have the capacity to house sixty three people. We can do this thanks to the commitment and dedication of all DASH staff and volunteers, which currently comprises a voluntary Management Committee of 9 Trustees, sixteen paid staff, one Social Work student placement and two volunteer workers.

Forty five years after its foundation, DASH remains firmly committed to helping single homeless people and DASH staff work closely with these people to help them to achieve independent living or to remain in an existing tenancy.

DASH can be justifiably proud of a tradition where essential life changing chances are encouraged and supported by our Support Workers. DASH has evolved from the Durham Cyrenians which had a small volunteer workforce that provided very limited temporary housing into an efficient, professional accommodation and support provider with specialist skills and resources able to adapt to increasing demands and ever changing needs.

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