Regular readers of our blog will know that we’ve been re-visiting successful applicants to the DPS Fund and finding out how our donations have been changing lives.
In this case study, we hear from Elmbridge Rentstart, whose application to the DPS Fund was rewarded with £10,000 back in 2014. Since 2001, they have helped well over 2,000 people in need. Here’s how with money from the DPS Fund, they’ve been able to make a remarkable difference in the life of Mr M.
Sofa-surfing and the caravan
Four years ago, Mr M divorced, leaving his home, ex-wife and three children behind him. With no other option, he was forced into sofa-surfing until finding a job at a chocolate factory in West Sussex. However, things at the factory didn’t work out, and Mr M was forced to move to Weybridge, where he ended up living under a bridge.
‘Too much to handle’
It was at this point that Mr M went to Elmbridge Borough Council for a housing options interview. They agreed to help, but suggested he try Elmbridge Rentstart as well, as bidding for properties through the council can take a long time.
Rentstart immediately arranged for Mr M to go to a local night shelter that had recently opened. However, there was quite a lot of unrest in the shelter, and Mr M found the fighting between other residents was too much to handle. He couldn’t sleep at the shelter, feeling extremely uncomfortable and afraid. He decided to leave the shelter and live on the streets once again.
Though Mr M was forced to live rough for three months, Rentstart stayed in constant touch with him. As soon as a house became available, they took him to see it.
A suitable property
In early April, Rentstart found a suitable property for Mr M in the village of New Haw. After a brief viewing, he decided to move in straight away. Rentstart were able to help Mr M with all the necessary form-filling, and also provided him with a home starter pack containing a bed, soft bedding, kitchen equipment and all the basic requirements he would need to start living there.
Rentstart took him to the council offices to submit his forms and identification, and continued to offer tenancy support. This included arranging with the council that he pay his council tax in small manageable payments.
According to Mr M’s Rentstart adviser, he has settled well into the property, and his pride in his new home shows through in the excellent order in which he maintains it.
Mr M…store manager?
Mr M is now working four days a week in the Queen Elizabeth Foundation shop in Walton-on-Thames. While this position is unpaid, he is being given plenty of training, and has now applied for the position of Store Manager in another branch. If successful, Mr M will have moved from the streets into full time, paid employment. The support of Rentstart, has really helped Mr M escape the web of homeless and create for himself a future that is full of opportunity.
When we started the DPS Fund, we had high hopes that money we donated would have a real impact on people’s lives. However, we never imagined just how much difference we would help people to make. The feedback we’ve had from the charities and their beneficiaries has been truly heart-warming, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the DPS Fund.