Angel’s team is answering the prayers of people on the streets
AN award-winning scheme is helping to get long-term homeless people off the streets of Derby.
Derventio Housing Trust’s Home4Me scheme was launched after Derby Homes, which manages Derby City Council’s homelessness services, asked Derventio to work with 20 homeless people who had faced multiple exclusions and who no one wanted to house.
It was such a success that the next year the number of participants went up to 35
Open to over-18s, the project gives people the long-term support they need to live independently after years of living on the fringes of society.
Many of them have had difficult upbringings or may have experienced abuse or violence, along with isolation, loneliness, anxiety, depression, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, mental health problems and trauma.
To turn their lives around takes months of work involving a host of organisations and a team of support workers.
Angel Dieckvoss, who leads the project, said: “When I interview someone about joining the scheme, I’m really unpleasant and I don’t sugar-coat anything. I make it clear to them that I have standards and expectations.
“I am a big believer in giving people the right intervention, but it must be at the right time. If I think that it’s the wrong time or they’re not willing to do what I’m going to ask of them, I won’t accept them onto the project.”
Once they’re accepted, everything changes, and they will go on to benefit from a bespoke service tailored precisely to their requirements.
There is no cookie-cutter approach to this, and it wouldn’t work if there was,” said Angel. “That’s why I’m lucky to work with Derventio. They’re able to give me the flexibility and scope to do what needs to be done, backed up by an amazing support team.
“There is no typical homeless person, and the size and outlook of our organisation means that we don’t have a typical approach to their situation.”
As a result, Angel and her team are willing to go to great lengths to help residents, including accompanying them to doctors’ or hospital appointments, sitting down with them to fill out forms, going to job interviews or helping them deal with utility companies and debt repayment agencies.
Once, when a man who had slept under a canvas for two years became anxious at the prospect of moving into his new house, she suggested he pitched his tent in the garden.
She also gives residents birthday cards, recognises even their most