When Steve met a girl he moved into her flat and gave up his own. But when Steve lost his office job their relationship broke down and they split up. Steve had no home and no job. He was owed some money from security jobs but didn’t know when he would get it.
For a few weeks Steve sofa-surfed, staying with friends and relatives. But no one had space to let him stay permanently and he had to move on after a few nights. Steve couldn’t find another job, his savings quickly disappeared and he soon ran out of options.
Liverpool City Council’s One Stop Shop recommended that Steve visit The Whitechapel Centre for help. We assessed Steve and offered him support through our Private Rented Bond Scheme. We offer reputable landlords a cashless bond to protect their property.
Very quickly Steve found a one bedroom flat and we helped him to access vouchers for furniture and made sure that he was claiming the correct benefits.
Steve said, “I never thought I would end up homeless but I did. Although I had money owing to me I didn’t know how long I would have to wait for it and in the meantime I had exhausted the kindness of my family and friends. The Whitechapel Centre stopped me from hitting rock bottom. Thankfully I never had to sleep rough, but I was close to it.”
Within a few weeks of moving into his new flat Steve got a job working nights in a warehouse. During the day he went to college to do an accountancy course. Over time, the money he was owed arrived and he was able to save enough to invest in his own business.
Three years later and Steve is now 28 and runs a newsagent shop. He called in to The Whitechapel Centre this week to donate some food. He said, “I know first-hand that The Whitechapel Centre does great work. The whole experience has changed my opinion about homelessness and people you see on the streets. When they say “it can happen to anyone” it really is true. It has motivated me to work hard and save money, but I will also give back to people who are in the position I once was.”
The Whitechapel Centre runs a successful Private Renting Scheme which supports people who are homeless to access appropriate, good quality accommodation. In the last 12 months we have helped 111 people find a new home within the private rented sector.
We help find a suitable property and provide a guarantee bond to the landlord which means there is no need for a deposit. Each person is allocated a support worker who visits them in their new home and helps them through the process of resettlement into their own tenancy. The support worker also liaises with private sector landlords to maximize housing opportunities, ensure good working relations and provide a point of contact and support for the landlords.
If you are a landlord and would like information on how you could take part please get in touch.