Putting People in Control
Thursday 10th October is World Homeless Day. Marked internationally, the day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the issue of homelessness and those affected by it. This week, Action Homeless will be sharing stories about the diverse range of people we have worked with and the key values that underpin our work.
Action Homeless believes that only by putting a person in control of the decisions that affect their lives will they take responsibility for what happens to them. Central to this, and Leicester’s Rough Sleeping Initiative, is partnership working to ensure people have the best support and opportunities to help them identify their personal goals and make the changes in their lives that they want.
Russell* had become homeless after the breakdown of his marriage following a family tragedy. He had owned and operated his own business and in his own words, ‘had the best of everything, nice house, new car when he wanted and a life to be envied.’
After a period of two year where he had been sofa surfing, Russell had lost contact with his old friends and, more recently, his Father had told him that he could no longer help. Russell said that this hit him hard and he became determined to prove to his family that he was to be trusted and that he would not let them down again.
Thankfully, this personal decision coincided with the beginning of Leicester’s Rough Sleeper Initiative.
RSI staff spoke to Russell to find out more about his strengths and what he wanted to achieve and used this to tailor the support they gave him.
The main support given to Russell by Action Homeless was with supporting the transition to his own tenancy. Although he was very motivated to and had been his own boss prior to experiencing homelessness he had taken care of the practical side of the business while his wife managed the financial side in all areas of their life. Moneywise Plus, a partner of Action Homeless were able to provide advice about finances and utilities.
Russell’s support worker provided him with referrals to local support agencies including Chroma Storehouse (starter pack and food); LCC Community Support Grant (furnishing for flat); Wavelength (TV); and Charity Link (Bed and microwave) as he had only the clothes he stood in. The Rough Sleeper Initiative enabled Action Homeless to fund basic items for him to move with (Kettle, toaster, blow up bed etc) whilst he was waiting for other referrals to have decisions made.
Russell was able to move and settle into his new flat in time for a visit from his parents, who live abroad. He continues in his tenancy to this day. If things become difficult for him again Action Homeless staff will be available to support him.
Supported by the The European End Street Homelessness Campaign
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.