Church Housing Trust has been able to provide a hardship fund, which is being used to help people who arrive at a hostel in extreme poverty.
They may have no money for many reasons, such as having their benefits sanctioned, coming from a background of rough sleeping, or having come straight from prison.
Individuals at Liverpool’s Park View scheme are often in this situation. Staff there use our funding to help buy these people essential items when they first arrive.
Once they are in receipt of benefits, they can stay more permanently in supported accommodation. They can then continue to get counselling or other training, begin volunteering or working, and move on into independent accommodation.
30 year old Thomas* needed this help. His benefits were stopped in March when he missed a medical assessment because he was sleeping rough. He also served two short prison sentences, both for shoplifting food when he had no money, which caused him to miss further appointments.
He had been an addict since the age of 12, but when he heard about Park View, he decided to attend an open day and see if he could begin treatment for his substance misuse.
He arrived at the scheme with only the clothes he was wearing: no change of underwear or coat. He used some of the hardship fund to buy a toothbrush, toothpaste, shower gel, shaving foam, razors, underwear and socks.
Finally, he purchased some bus tickets to get to Narcotics Anonymous meetings that will support his recovery. After 18 years, he is going to move on from his addiction and rebuild his life.
As a result of beginning treatment for his addiction and seeking advice from an in-house benefits officer, his benefits have been reinstated, and he can begin his journey to independence.
*Name changed to protect identity.