It is simply ‘caring’, not ‘care’

Our Niche NFP building has the office, and Housing Support Officers positioned adjacent to the entrance of the property, promoting regular interaction with the tenants and a feeling of security for our residents. The day-to-day social support and management style ensure an inspiring, self-policing, self-supportive micro community for our tenants. There is an on-site handyman for light repairs and a nightwatchman for security and emergencies out of hours.

Mrs A     Date of Arrival: 23.01.2017

Mrs A was working as a barmaid in a pub and renting a 2-bed apartment with her boyfriend. On New Year’s day, her boyfriend threatened her with violence and killed her cat. She was placed into temporary emergency accommodation; however, her boyfriend found out where she was staying and dumped all her belongings outside in black bin bags, this was, unfortunately, the same day as the refuse was collected and all her belongs were lost. She felt very unsafe with him knowing where she was and having to live in shared accommodation where, for example, the kitchen was locked at 8 pm. Within 3 short weeks, her life had collapsed. Since arriving with us, we have sourced her some necessary supplies, kettle etc. and she is now on a 6 month re-training scheme, feels safe, secure, has her own space and is making connections with other tenants.

Mr B     Date of Arrival: 01.10.2011

Mr B was living and working on a caravan site, but all of his tools got stolen. He moved into a seaside Guest House. His weekly rent was £180, and he was struggling to make ends meet. He assumed he would find a job but watched his savings get depleted in the meantime. The negative situation he was in exasperated his alcohol use from what had been a manageable habit into something much more destructive. He refused to touch a computer or complete any paperwork. We were recommended to him by a friend. We sourced a small bag of hand tools and with this he was able to do a few small jobs locally and for friends. This greatly helped to restore his sense of pride and motivate him to control his drinking through support from local services. However, in 2013 he broke both his ankles. He had never had a good diet, and as a result, his bones had become very brittle over time.  After returning from the hospital, we lent Mr B our in-house wheelchair and the spare office laptop. This laptop contains no personal information and is lent out to tenants so they can test drive a computer before saving to investing in one themselves. By using football sites and tools such as Google Earth (so Mr B could visit online places he used to live) it created a reason for him to use a computer. Another tenant or the Housing Support Worker would regularly take Mr B out around the pier in the wheelchair or to the shops for supplies. Although he hasn’t worked again and was signed off under ESA for his ankles, he still requires support to control his addiction to alcohol and corresponding debt.

Mr C     Date of Arrival: 28.04.12

Mr C used to live with us between 2002 and 2008. He drank, gambled on the horses and tried to set himself up with several unsuccessful telemarketing jobs. Due to his intermittent work he fell behind on his  top-ups and needed constant support in keeping his paperwork up to date. He was an old rocker, often wearing a long trench coat and he was quite a handful when drunk. Our Housing Support Officer had several conversations with him about his future with us and his need to engage with the support we provide. He later found a part-time job in Brighton and a room in a shared house, Mr C wanted to pursue this opportunity, so we supported him during the relocation process. We stayed in touch, and Mr C continued to visit to collect his post, catch-up and repay his small debt to us slowly over time. Through getting to know Mr C, it became apparent that the leading underlying cause of his unhappiness and mental distress was an errant son he hadn’t seen for many years. While not a current tenant, Mr C was visiting the office one day for a chat and we agreed to set Mr C up with a Facebook account so that he could make contact with his son. He was able to renew this relationship, and he told me how his son needed his help, providing Mr C with the drive to refocus his efforts on work and sort out his personal circumstances. In April 2012 Mr C back into The Colonnades because he was still some way from being able to sustain a market tenancy. He is much improved with his computer skills and looking for love on the internet. We have had to give him several warnings about online dating as he is at high risk of being ‘fished’ by people. He still wears the same trench coat all year round.