In Impact Stories, Reducing isolation & disadvantage, Aylesbury Vale

Project: Contribution to salary costs of two case workers
Grant: £5,000
Fund: Police Property Act

Aylesbury Homeless Action Group (AHAG) are unique within Aylesbury Vale as there is no other organisation which provides a similar service; assisting any person who requires housing advice and support.

The main role of their case workers is to support individuals in finding affordable, safe and secure housing. An important part of the case worker’s role is early intervention; this is vital to prevent eviction where possible. They will also support the individual with budgeting skills and assistance with employment, training and education, helping to sustain their tenancy and to prevent the repeating cycle of homelessness.

This grant has enabled AHAG to reduce the impact that homelessness has both on the lives of the beneficiaries and the wider community, and has helped them to:

• Provide housing support and advice for 229 people
• Provide extended support for 166 clients
• Prevent 49 people from becoming homeless
• House 65 beneficiaries
• Support 60 clients to sustain a tenancy for more than 6 months
• Provide housing support to 39 beneficiaries who were in work

(figures April 2017 – March 2018)

CASE STUDY

‘Grace’ (name changed) is an intelligent and educated 35 year old woman who had left an abusive marriage with just two suitcases of personal belongings. She had suffered the indignity of sleeping rough for a few nights until she was placed in the care of the local Women’s Aid refuge. As she was a single person, she would not be prioritised by the council for housing once her stay at the refuge was complete, so her options for housing were limited to private rental.

AHAG offered intensive support by looking at the private rent market in the area and helping her understand what financial support was available.

Within a very brief period of time a self-contained property became available and a quick move in was arranged. A new home starter pack was put together for her from AHAG’s stores with cleaning products and toiletries as well bigger items such as an iron and a kettle.

AHAG have continued to support Grace with her housing benefit and helping her move forward from a very difficult period in her life.

They recently received the following email from her:

I’m on the train back from an interview and thought it would be a perfect time to pen my thank you note. Being homeless as a result of domestic abuse was by far the most challenging and confusing time of my life. I was referred to AHAG by the refuge and from the first day I met Sarah I knew I was in good hands. She was calm and friendly and interacted with me in a dignified and professional manner. I was provided with a wealth of information not just about housing but also other welfare services within Aylesbury. For the first time in a long time, I felt seen and in control of my destiny. 

Sarah made me feel like I was her only client. Since I have no family in the country, I deeply appreciated the warm chats that accompanied our weekly meeting. Most of all, I am grateful for the tremendous support and advice that Sarah gave me that resulted in me being able to secure a private rented property. No decision was made without me and my preferences were accommodated every step of the way. 

As I begin to rebuild my life, it gives me great confidence to know that I have the whole team at AHAG rooting for me, and peace of mind knowing that they are simply a call away should I need advice. So thank you Sarah, Rhian and everyone at AHAG for giving me a hand up when I needed it the most. Thank you for going beyond the call of duty and for treating me with the utmost respect at all times. Forever grateful.