Research and consultation carried out by the Community Foundation for Calderdale has identified a significant rise in homelessness in Calderdale, with demand for support considerably outstripping supply. For instance, SmartMove reported a waiting list of over 80 people, in addition to the 110 people it was supporting at any one time.
In an attempt to ease the situation, the Community Foundation awarded a grant of £20,000 per year for three years to SmartMove, enabling an additional caseworker to be employed in order to support more homeless or vulnerably housed people into appropriate housing. This enabled SmartMove to complete assessments out of office hours, reduce waiting times substantially, and support more people at any one time (an additional 38 people were helped over one year).
Ben suffered sight loss, relationship breakdown, mental health problems, homelessness.
SmartMove helped him access appropriate housing and live independently.
He attended various ‘SmartSkills’ practical short courses, including healthy eating, living on a budget, managing a tenancy, and Job Club.
He has enrolled on a counselling skills level 2 course and is training to become a volunteer listening Samaritan.
He says: “(SmartMove has)… dramatically changed my life… I have gone from feeling worthless and depressed to being much more positive and intent on achieving life goals. The property I now live in… enables me to… live an independent life, something I could not do without SmartMove’s help. It is also a wonderful… help knowing that there’s a great support network just a phone call away at any time”.