About us

Cambridge Cyrenians support people in Cambridge who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, empowering them to fulfil their potential, whatever their background or past.

We do this through short and long stay, flats and shared houses, and a “homes not hostels” approach where people have a secure and consistent home during their stay with us. Our diverse accommodation offer means we can support those in employment, women, ex-offenders, and older people.

Our “homes not hostels” approach also means we are passionate about empowering residents to be involved in decisions about their housing and to take responsibility for their lives and futures.

We currently provide accommodation and support for over 100 individuals. And each year we help around 25-30 people to transition out of our supported accommodation and into independence. 

With rough sleeping increasing and the numbers of people requiring temporary accommodation and support at an all-time high, the need for Cambridge Cyrenians is as great as ever.

Our Vision

To enable anyone at risk or experiencing homelessness, no matter their background or past, to have an equal opportunity to fulfil their potential.

Our Mission

To support and empower those who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness and to make a positive difference to the quality of their lives.

Our Values

We strive to understand and share the feelings of others.

We believe in tolerance, acceptance, valuing diversity and treating each other as equals.

We believe in bringing out the best in people; equipping them to make their own decisions and reach their potential.

Leading in new and innovative ways of supporting homeless people and finding solutions to the challenges of homelessness.

Open to all and value and respect people for their differences.

We are continually looking at ways to be innovative, to find solutions that will improve the quality of the lives of our service users. 

Frequently asked questions

I am sleeping rough, can you help me?

If you are homeless and want to access accommodation with Cambridge Cyrenians you should first contact Cambridge City Council’s Housing Advice Team on 01223 457918.

If you’re already homeless, or may become homeless within the next eight weeks you can apply for help from your local council. This is known as making a homeless application.

Cambridge City Council are best placed to verify your local connection and advise you on the level of support available to you in the city. Once you have made an application to the council, they may be able to refer you to an appropriate agency for accommodation. If you are referred to Cambridge Cyrenians, you should be aware there is a waiting list for all our houses, but we’ll do our best to accommodate you as soon as possible.

For more advice on housing assistance you can call the office on 01223 712501, send us an email office@cambridgecyrenians.org.uk or fill out the form here. Our office is open 9-5pm on weekdays. If you are concerned about someone who is homeless or rough sleeping or needs emergency accommodation, you can inform the Street Outreach Team via the Streetlink website.

Do you work with any other homelessness shelters, services, or agencies in Cambridge?

We’re part of Cambridge’s Streets to Home Partnership. Through the Partnership we work with The Riverside Group, Jimmy’s Cambridge, Wintercomfort for the Homeless, Cambridge Housing Society, and Change Grow Live (who run the Street Outreach Service). We work together to ensure that our services are joined-up and offer people the best pathways to recovery and secure housing.

What is supported accommodation?

Supported accommodation is stable living environment combined with support services to help you develop skills for independent living. There are lots of different types of supported housing available from different providers, including housing associations, some local councils, and charities like Cambridge Cyrenians. Forms of supported accommodation include hostels, modular homes, flats, and shared houses.

Are Cambridge Cyrenians a religious group?

While Cambridge Cyrenians has no religious affiliation, much of our work and ethos are mirrored in the values of Christianity. Our name, Cyrenians, is a biblical reference to Simon of Cyrene, an unknown stranger who is recorded in the Gospels carrying Jesus’ cross as he was led to be crucified. In 1963, a probation officer named Anton Wallich-Clifford founded the Simon Community (which takes its name from the same biblical character) in central London. Wallich-Clifford felt that Simon of Cyrene did the work that others would not and founded his community with an intention to do the same.

How long have Cyrenians been in Cambridge?

Inspired by the Simon Community in London, a group of Cambridge residents and students began the Cambridge Companions of Simon in 1965. In 1968 the group started their first house for the homeless on East Road and in 1970 the Cambridge Cyrene Community was established as an independent charity.

These FAQs draw on research done by Anna Clarke. You can read more about the history of Cambridge Cyrenians in Anna’s book Half a century of working with the homeless in Cambridge: Cambridge Cyrenians 1970-2020 >