From sleeping rough to a whole new life, Jacob has a fresh start thanks to forfutures.
Jacob*, who is 43 and from Ellesmere Port, was sleeping rough and struggling with alcohol addiction when he was introduced to forfutures.
Less than a year later he has a place to call home, he is engaged to his girlfriend and has a baby on the way.
Jacob was employed on a temporary contract, and when it ended he started struggling financially. He was living in a shared house with no tenancy agreement, and when he was late paying his rent the landlord evicted him immediately. In December 2018 he found himself homeless and sleeping on the streets.
During the winter months when the temperature at night drops dangerously low, Cheshire West & Chester Council activate their Severe Weather Emergency Protocol, known as ‘SWEP’.
This means that emergency accommodation is made available so nobody has to sleep rough, and forfutures works alongside the council to provide this accommodation.
Once Jacob became known to the team we started providing support immediately. He became one of the first customers to be helped as part of the newly introduced Rapid Rehousing Pathway, a government initiative to help rough sleepers, and those at risk of rough sleeping, access the support and settled housing they need to leave the streets for good.
Lisa Walker, Rapid Rehousing Pathway Navigator at forfutures, began working closely with him. The team had already identified that Jacob had problems with alcohol, but Lisa started to notice a decline in his mental health.
She managed to secure Jacob a place in temporary accommodation at Phoenix Lodge and then started working with him to develop the skills he needed to find employment and manage a tenancy successfully. He completed numerous courses and started volunteering with local charities.
Lisa said: “Jacob’s sense of wellbeing improved drastically. His mental health issues and problems with alcohol were addressed and he is rebuilding relationships with his family.”
After nine months in temporary accommodation, he moved into his own home with ForHousing, a progressive landlord.
When he started getting into rent arrears, Lisa realised that things weren’t right and she addressed it with him personally. She discovered that Jacob had started a relationship but the person was stealing from him.
They worked together with other teams to address the rent arrears so his tenancy wasn’t at risk.
Jacob said: “I am in a much better place now. I’ve realised that although I will have good time and bad times, I’ll always have the support of Lisa and the team at ForHousing and they can help me work through my problems, I just need to be honest with them.”
*Name changed to protect identity.