Prevention is better than cure

On-going support is something that we at Justlife believe strongly in. We understand that helping for six months is not enough to provide the stability that so many of our service users need. We need to be available for them to contact if they ever need our help.

This can be quite difficult. We are a small team and stretched quite thin. However, knowing that we were able to keep someone on the road to recovery makes it all worthwhile.

One of our service users spent most of his adult life in prison. He was 40 years old and living in unsupported temporary accommodation, a B&B after his relationship broke down. He came to us a couple of years ago. Attending job club lessons and the Justlife at Home project helped him get his own home. He has now held his tenancy for two years now, the longest he has ever lived anywhere.

After doing ok for 9 months he recently got back in touch with us, needing help with his benefits which were running the risk of being withheld. One of our case workers is helping him through the situation and will hopefully keep him on track and provide him with further help to find a job. If the service user had not known about us, he may not have been able to cope with everything that was going on. He could have been evicted from his property and found himself homeless.

In a recent focus group of residents of unsupported temporary ¬†accommodation,¬†we discussed advice that they might give to others who were facing living in unsupported temporary accommodation. One of the main things that the group agreed on was “tell them to get help before becoming homeless… do everything you can not to get in that situation.” We are trying to heed this suggestion in our work, always remembering to offer additional support and an open door to those we have helped who are now living relatively stable lives.

Knowing that Justlife is there for them means that previous service users have someone to turn to that they trust when things start going wrong, rather than waiting until they are rock bottom again.