When Amanda came to the Winter Shelter she had been homeless for a significant period of time, both rough sleeping and sofa surfing.
Although she has lived and worked in the UK for more than 20 years, she was unable to claim Universal Credit, meaning she had no income at all and no food, she knew she needed to register a homelessness application with the council, but with no identification, she couldn’t submit this application. We have worked closely with her support worker from one of our partner agencies, and through this joint approach, many steps have been taken which have empowered Amanda to take control of many areas of her life.
Once we took time to understand Amanda’s specific circumstances, we were able to start the process by providing her with a letter for the Home Office in support of obtaining ID, and the Rainbow Centre has been able to act as C/O address for her too, enabling her to have somewhere safe to receive her post and important documents. Now she has her ID documents, she is in the process of applying for settled status, which will allow her to receive benefits while she is working towards reemployment. We have also provided her with a letter that she can use to open a bank account, yet another essential thing she didn’t have access to.
Without a doctor, Amanda had not had access to any medical care for quite some time, another thing we helped her tackle, supporting her to register with a local GP, and book her initial consultation so that she can receive support with her physical and mental health. Her support worker completed a referral to Forward Trust, and she is now getting professional help to address her addiction.
Having a secure base, in the form of being a guest in the shelter, has undoubtedly supported her in this process providing a regular evening meal delivered by our Winter Shelter volunteers and a good night’s sleep, and being in close proximity to the services she needs to move forward.
The shelter has also provided Amanda with regular practical assistance, in the form of clothes, toiletries, and food, as she currently has no income to provide for even the necessities, and B&B has worked with us to deliver items to her room during lockdown when we were not permitted to enter the premises.
Whilst a longer-term option has not yet been secured, all the things that Amanda has already achieved have made a huge difference to many areas of her life and these building blocks are laying a secure foundation to build on. Without the stability of the shelter, the warm safe space to focus, and being able to have all her belongings and paperwork in one place, these may simply not have been possible.