World Homeless Day (10th October) reminds us of the growing housing crisis facing the UK and the increasing number of rough sleepers and families in temporary accommodation.
As well as providing dedicated homeless services including hostels and nightshelters, Hightown Housing Association develops much-needed affordable homes for those most in need, many of whom are struggling to keep a home in the private sector. Hightown’s Chief Executive, David Bogle said: “We continue to see an increasing demand on our homeless hostels and nightshelters, but this only tells half the story of the homelessness crisis.
“What goes largely unseen is the growing number of working families pushed to the brink of homelessness by the squeeze of private sector rents and lack of affordable homes.
“Our staff work to support families and individuals who are in desperate situations, evicted from their homes and struggling to make ends meet.
“This is why we’re a part of the Homes for Cathy Group: a national alliance of housing associations campaigning for more resources to tackle homelessness."
From eviction to a permanent home: Jodie’s story
Evicted from her privately-rented flat as she could no longer afford the escalating rent, teaching assistant Jodie Oliver and her six-year-old son were suddenly left without a home. With Hightown’s support, they were allocated temporary accommodation in Hemel Hempstead and within a year, moved into permanent social rented housing in Watford.
Jodie said: “When I was going through the eviction process it was a really worrying and stressful time, especially with my son to look after.
“Brian from Hightown was so supportive to me during the eviction process and when I had meetings with the Council. I’ll be forever grateful for what he did for me. It was a really scary process but if I ever needed any help, I knew I could just pick up the phone.
“It felt amazing when I found out we could move back to Watford. My son goes to school in Watford, I work at a pre-school there and most of my family all live in the town too. It was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders to think we were moving in to what could be our forever home.”
Private landlord left me stranded: Keith’s story
Earlier this year, Keith’s landlord in Chalfont St Peter’s decided to sell the property giving him very little notice. Recent illness meant that Keith had to stop working and suddenly he was faced with no income and nowhere to live. After two months in temporary accommodation, Keith is now settled in an affordable one-bedroom flat in Little Chalfont and will be back in work soon following a recent job offer.
Keith said: “I was really grateful when Hightown arranged housing for me as I just didn’t know where I was going to end up.
“It’s a brand new flat and it’s got everything I need. I’m close to my nine-year-old daughter so it’s really easy for her to visit me.”