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Wolverhampton’s One City Fund has moved to the next stage of the crowdfunding project. The 'No Place Like Home' phase of the fund will raise vital money for charities working with local people who are homeless, including the Alternative Giving Campaign, Good Shepherd Ministry, Haven Refuge, P3 – People Potential Possibilities and Solace Community

We've already pledged £5,000 to kick-start the campaign and to help raise awareness of the great work our Housing Options Team have been doing throughout lockdown. They have been going above and beyond, doing everything they can to safely support vulnerable residents of Wolverhampton into a home. We recently caught up with Anwar, Chantelle and Fred who we have helped over the past few weeks, with the support from our partners, to see how they're getting on.

Anwar

I was just a teenager when I moved to England a few years ago. I had been living happily with a foster family, but when COVID-19 came and the government later imposed restrictions, my family asked me to leave. You see, I was working part-time in a pizza shop and they worried about the risks to the wider family. I got in touch with my support worker from the council who put me in touch with Housing Options at Wolverhampton Homes.

They offered me a room in a hotel and I took it. I stayed there for about five or six weeks. It wasn’t ideal; I was working part-time alongside studying, and I was also fasting, which is always hard but even harder when you’re in unfamiliar surroundings. On top of that, it was very noisy and busy, but I was grateful of the support they offered me and understood it was a necessary step to finding something better.

My Visiting Officer Gill eventually found me a flat near the city centre and I took it straight away. I’m so grateful to her. I'll never forget her for as long as I live. She’s helped me a lot. She is very kind, I could tell she cared and wanted to help me. I feel a lot more settled now and I’m in a much better place.

 

Chantelle

I was living with a parent, having been encouraged to due to my health conditions. At the time, I thought it was the best thing for the two of us. However, after a short time the abuse began. At first it was verbal, but it quickly escalated to being physical, too. I spoke with Wolverhampton Homes’ Housing Options Team a few times over the weeks that followed to discuss my housing situation. I built a good relationship with James – Visiting Officer; he gave me his work mobile number so I could contact him in case things at home got any worse.

As luck would have it, James reached out to me in March 2020. It was just as the situation around COVID-19 got bad and shortly following yet another incident of abuse at home. James listened to me and said it wasn’t safe for me to stay at home and I agreed. A lovely lady called Laura arranged for a taxi to pick me up and take me to a hotel within the city.

I stayed at the hotel for several weeks and during that time I was blown away by the support the other residents and I were offered. I had volunteered in soup kitchens and for other support services, so I knew something of what went on behind the scenes, but being on the other side of it felt strange. It was so surreal. Wolverhampton Homes were fantastic; they supported me from the get-go, from fleeing the situation I was in, to becoming settled at the hotel and obtaining food and other goods, to finding myself a new home. It was a real team effort. More so than anything though, I think what I valued most was the emotional support, not just from Wolverhampton Homes, but from their partners too, not least The Haven who have been absolutely fantastic.

Laura and another lady called Gill from the Housing Options Team found me a new home in a lovely area of the city and they made sure it was right for me before I committed to anything. I’m pleased to say it was and at the end of May, I moved into my new home. They signposted me to services to help me get everything I needed to turn it into a home – there’s still lots to do, but I’m getting there, one piece of furniture at a time. The Haven are in touch with me every day and Wolverhampton Homes are always on hand to offer advice and guidance.

Honestly, the whole experience has changed my life. Together, they took me out a dark situation and helped me move forward to something safe and secure. I’m in a better place now and the future is brighter than ever. I have no words to express my gratitude, but thank you. I encourage anyone worried about leaving an abusive relationship because of their housing situation, to speak to Wolverhampton Homes, The Haven or the Police. Help is available for those that need it.

 

Fred

I was living in a private property in Wolverhampton. I was happy there, but then last year the landlord got in touch and said he wanted the property back, as he had plans to gift it to one of his relatives. I was obviously disheartened, but I accepted his decision.

Sadly, I had trouble getting my landlord to issue me the required notice, so I had nothing to give the council to show them that I was going to be made homeless. Also, the landlord began coming into the property and making changes. It made me very uncomfortable. I contacted Wolverhampton Homes and explained the situation. They interviewed me and within a couple of days, they got in touch to say that they had accepted my case and agreed to help me find a new home.

I left the property in October 2019 and moved in with a friend while I tried to find a new home. It wasn’t easy; I’m a Healthcare and Social Worker for the NHS, and I’ve been working all throughout lockdown. Working full-time while not having my own space was tough, but my friend was very understanding and did everything he could to accommodate me.

Fortunately, Wolverhampton Homes found me a property in Oldbury and on 11 May, Accord Housing offered it to me and invited me to come and view it that same day. I did and I was really pleased. I took it straight away. I’m really happy in my new home. I feel settled and I know I’ll be here a long time. I’m very thankful to Wolverhampton Homes for supporting me.

To make a donation to the One City Fund - No Place Like Home, please visit www.spacehive.com/noplacelikehome.

Organisations wishing to make an application to the small grants fund are asked to email Saffi Price on sprice@wolverhamptonvsc.org.uk. The grants will be administered by Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council.

Spacehive, the crowd-funding platform powering Crowdfund Wolves, has waived its 5% fee for all projects created during the current lockdown which means all monies raised will go directly to local third sector organisations.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. There’s lots of advice on how people can protect themselves and their families from coronavirus from the NHS at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

The council’s Stay Safe, Be Kind campaign offers clear and simple advice about how people can help themselves, and how they can support others who may be particularly vulnerable at this time. For more information, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/stay-safe-be-kind.

Click here for the latest coronavirus information for Wolverhampton Homes residents.

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