How we make a difference: Single Support Service and the night shelter

In late 2019, Adam* and Jo*’s studio flat started to develop severe mould. Numerous attempts to resolve the matter with their landlord weren’t listened to. As a result of the mould, Adam, who is under 30 and fit and healthy, was hospitalised five times and developed COPD. Despite the couple threatening legal action, the landlord issued an ultimatum to leave the property or stay. Due to Adam’s worsening health, they decided to leave, but the landlord did not release the deposit. Most of their furniture and clothes had been affected by the mould, so they lost most of their belongings.

Having approached their local council for emergency housing, they were temporarily housed at a B&B, but this accommodation only lasted a weekend, as the council said that Jo could technically return to her mother’s address. However there wasn’t enough space and this would result in Adam becoming homeless. Adam and Jo slept in their car whilst trying to access the privately rented market and attending hundreds of viewings, without success.

Their car broke down and had to be scrapped. Adam and Jo were forced into rough sleeping for two months, sleeping on a park bench and then at a local skate park. They engaged with the Street Outreach Team and were temporarily housed at Emmanuel House’s night shelter, which is currently operating at a local hotel.

One of our navigators from the Single Support Service worked with them in conjunction with our shelter staff. Their 6-week stay at the shelter provided them with a much-needed break from rough sleeping and our support team enabled them to find privately rented accommodation.

Adam and Jo are now living in a one-bedroom flat, with the financial help of their local council. They are keeping up with their rent payments and slowly filling the flat with furniture.

We helped Adam apply for Personal Independence Payments (PIP), completed council tax reduction forms and applied for discretionary housing benefits on their behalf. Our navigator helped them with furniture deliveries and is encouraging them to maintain their independence to manage their tenancy. Adam is self-employed and Jo has recently started a university course.

*Names and dates have been altered to protect identities.


If you’d like to raise money to support services like these, please get in touch: rosie.needhamsmith@emmanuelhouse.org.uk.