MF is a young mum. Unfortunately, for some time, she faced domestic violence. She managed to leave – her children already didn’t live with her, so they were safe. However, this meant that she became homeless. All in all, she was homeless for six months.
After a while, she came into contact with the local council, the London Borough of Newham. They referred her to a night shelter run by local churches, NEWway Project – the borough saw her as ‘non-priority and low needs’ for their own emergency accommodation.
When she got there, NEWway project also started to help her to move beyond the night shelter. She was already receiving benefits, and their advocates helped her to apply to local hostels for accommodation. NEWway Project also had good relationships with a local estate agent. They worked with the estate agent to find her suitable accommodation, and they vouched for her despite her low income.
The next hurdle was a deposit – MF had no savings. This is one of the biggest barriers to accommodation for many people. NEWway Project paid the deposit for her, along with the first month’s rent – using money from Housing Justice’s Move-on Grant.
Now, MF has a spacious room in an HMO, where she can safely see her two children.
What will you do to end homelessness?
NEWway project was founded when across the borough, Christian leaders from a wide range of churches and local charities began meeting together to plan ways to support the growing numbers of homeless people in our community. They now not only respond to homelessness but also work to give them sustainable provision – from advocacy to tenancy deposits. This helps to get people off the streets and reduces the need for their crisis response. Many churches around the country follow similar models. Is this something that you could do? To find out more about their work, visit their website. For more details on how churches can provide tenancy deposit schemes, see this case study from the Church of England.
Thanks to MF and NEWway Project.