how we began

Our Mission

To secure a decent home for every household at a cost they can afford

Shelter Housing Aid and Research Project (SHARP) was setup in the early 1970’s by a group of volunteers who were deeply concerned about poor housing and homelessness and wanted to do something for local people who were suffering from bad conditions.


At the heart of what we do

We believe it is a basic human right for everyone to have a warm, safe, secure and affordable home.  

SHARP began offering free, confidential and impartial advice and assistance to people in housing need.  This is still the heart of our work.  In addition to this, we have been able to develop a wide range of services for people with housing problems and now have paid, trained staff who operate in an area that covers all of Leicestershire and Rutland.

Our funding and the current economic climate

Until the mid-1990s SHARP relied upon a small number of annual grants – from national Shelter, Leicester City Council and the then Department of the Environment – to fund most of its housing aid work, although local fundraising remained important. From 2000 onwards these grants were steadily reduced in real terms. By 2007 they were no more.

At present, SHARP receives income via a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund. SHARP also receives funds from the Leicester Social Economy Consortium Limited, a company that operates as SHARP’s trading arm. This funding allows us to employ a small number of staff and to recruit and train volunteers who then help to deliver the services which we provide. 

In addition, SHARP receives support from a number of trusts, foundations and other organisations together with donations from the general public. We are immensely grateful for the support we receive. Without this, we could not provide the services we do. However, the demand for our services continue to grow. There is a real shortage of affordable housing in the City and County and benefit cuts, zero hour contracts and unemployment are just some of the problems which have led to the increased number of people needing SHARP’s help.