An­gel’s team is an­swer­ing the prayers of peo­ple on the streets

Derby Telegraph - - News - By SI­MON BURCH

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

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.