A ‘Big Change’ for Justlife Clients

The people we work with are a forgotten section of society; they are single homeless adults living in appalling conditions of Unsupported Temporary Accommodation (UTA), with little support to get rehoused. Unfortunately most of the people we work with are considered not to be in priority need by the Local Authority and are very low on the list for support to be rehoused.

With this in mind, we work hard alongside every individual we support to be accepted into either social housing or supported housing in their search for more stable and secure accommodation. So it is with tremendous satisfaction and relief when one of our service users (finally) gets offered a place and can move out of UTA.

Although this is fantastic news, it often comes with yet more challenges to overcome. Many social housing properties are unfurnished, some even without carpets, and therefore require investment to become a habitable home, a financial investment our service users just do not have. In addition, supported housing schemes cannot accept individuals with large amounts of previous housing debt or rent-arrears – a huge barrier to being rehoused for the majority of those we work with.

With these ‘move out’ challenges our service users would be left with very limited options of how to move away from the appalling conditions in UTA. This is where Big Change Manchester comes in to save the day! Big Change Manchester, through the help of donations, provides vital funds to help people build a life away from the streets. This has proved a valuable resource for our service users to enable them to overcome these challenges and move into safe, stable and secure accommodation.

This vital resource has recently allowed us to help 3 people (and counting) move out of UTA as we applied for 2 washing machines, 2 gas cookers, 1 bed frame and debt relief. All of our applications to Big Change Manchester were accepted within 2 hours! Having the applications approved so quickly enables us to let the people we support know that there is something that can be done to help.

Thank you Big Change Manchester, we really couldn’t have changed these people’s lives without your support, keep up the good work!

Read the stories of how Justlife, with the help of Big Change Manchester, helped 3 people set up their future:

Clive’s Story

After a relationship breakdown, Clive found himself homeless and sofa surfing. He went to the local authority to get help with housing but was told that he was a ‘low priority’. With no other option Clive found himself living in UTA. As soon as Clive arrived he knew that he wanted to move out, so he registered on Manchester Move, but due to his banding as a ‘low priority’ he was not getting any offers for better accommodation. Joe, Project Worker at Justlife, looked into Clive’s banding priority and managed to get it changed to a higher banding due to the fact that Clive was working. Although he was now in a higher band he still had no accommodation offers, there seemed like no way out. Joe then wrote a supporting letter to Manchester Move detailing the appalling conditions Clive was living in. He was upped to an even higher banding and was offered the first place he bid on! This was a huge relief to know that after a year of living in UTA he would finally have his own place and could move out.

The flat Clive moved into was unfurnished, which meant that he desperately needed cooking and washing facilities. Clive approached Joe to see if there was anything Justlife could do, and although we would like to help purchase these vital items, we just simply don’t have the funds. That’s when Joe heard about Big Change Manchester and wrote and application for Clive to purchase a washing machine and gas cooker. Within 1.5 hours the application was approved. When Clive heard the good news he became very emotional and was ‘lost for words’ at the amount Joe had done to help him set up his new life.

George’s story

George was in social housing for 10 years with a job and a partner when it all fell apart, he lost his job and subsequently his partner. After suffering with depression around his recent hardship, he found it difficult to perform simple tasks such as paying rent and consequently fell into rent arrears and was evicted from his home 5 days before Christmas. He moved into UTA as he had nowhere else to go. He wanted to move out and to get his life back on track but was finding it difficult to get any offers for accommodation on Manchester Move. He got a job and started paying back his rent arrears, so well in fact he had overpaid! Joe at Justlife, was looking into his banding priority to see if it could be changed to make it possible for George to move out of UTA, where he had been living in for 2 years.

After a lot of back and forth between Joe and various employees from Manchester Move, George was eventually moved into band 2, due to the fact that he was living in UTA and was working. George’s first offer of accommodation was unsuitable, but a nice flat in his preferred area soon came along which he accepted right away. The flat was unfurnished, so George approached Joe to see if he could help. Joe applied to Big Change Manchester for a washing machine, gas cooker and bed frame, which was approved in 30 minutes! George was so happy that he could finally have somewhere to call home. There was only one problem, he didn’t have anyone to help him put the bed frame together, so Joe offered to go round and spend his Friday afternoon helping him put the bed together.

Usef’s story

Usef was living in UTA on and off for 6 years. We managed to find a place for him in supported accommodation, but it was flagged up that Usef had unpaid rent arrears from a previous property. Usef thought that he was still paying them off every week and was shocked to hear that he hadn’t been paying them for a few years. Unfortunately this meant that the supported housing wouldn’t take him as they don’t take anyone with more than £1,000 of housing debt or rent arrears. We set up for Usef to start paying back the rent arrears and applied to Big Change for funds to bring the figure under £1,000 to enable Usef to move out of UTA. Usef was so pleased when we told him that he would be able to finally move out, he is now very happy and starting to build his new life away from UTA.

*names have been changed to protect identity.