Cornerstone’s approach to helping people who are homeless or in danger of becoming so has been developed and refined over the years since the organisation was first formed in 1996. Over that time the charity has matured an empowering and holistic package of support, community work, counselling and advice that supports individuals to overcome varied social, health and financial inequalities. These inequalities, in particular mental health distress, threaten their ability to enjoy the basic human right of a secure shelter. Due to the nature of Cornerstone's work and the service-users the charity engages, it is important to all of our staff and service users that we work closely with the local community to gauge public understanding, feelings and any concerns/issues they may have. Cornerstone’s extensive and proactive community involvement is about creating a bond and open communication between the charity and its community rather than working re-actively and in isolation which could endanger the trust and reputation that all within the charity have worked hard to achieve. To ensure this is done effectively, Cornerstone carries out a large amount of outreach work; attending key meetings and being involved in regular community activities, supporting our service-users, where possible, to be involved in staffing the activities. All at Cornerstone feel this gently challenges some of the community’s negative perceptions towards the charity’s service-users, allowing them to be viewed as a valuable resource if given the opportunity. Cornerstone staff work hard to tailor support for each individual’s needs to give them the best chance of success and independence. Regular review meetings between the charity’s support workers and the service user are used to identify any support needed to empower the client to rehabilitate, overcome the barriers and move towards living independently. The charity’s support workers teach life skills and support service users to take charge of their finances, any health issues, day-to-day cleaning tasks, shopping and cooking. The team also support clients to find work and independent housing when ready. The support includes connecting people and encouraging them to use any expert agencies in their communities outside the charity that can offer them specialist help they may need. For example, local drug rehabilitation experts, debt and benefit advice agencies, Social Services and health teams, employment agencies, housing agent and county council service are just a few of local services regularly and successfully used by our clients.