Woman hails homelessness service

January 22nd, 2016 in Home Group News

A woman who almost became homeless is urging other people in the same situation to seek help from a specialist service.

Anna Harmes almost found herself sleeping on the streets last year when she was unable to cover the cost of rent on her home after her housemate decided to move on.

The 26-year-old had been sharing a three-bedroom home with one other person but when they decided to move out Anna was unable to cover the rent on the home by herself.

She handed in notice on the property but was unable to find anywhere else to live and came within seven days of sleeping on the streets before being referred to a service funded by Norfolk County Council for help.

Housing officers referred her to Stonham, the UK’s largest care and support provider, which operates the Norfolk’s Stonham HomeStay service on behalf of the council.

Anna said: “Last year I discovered that anyone can find themselves homeless or at risk of homelessness. It could be losing a job, relationship breakdown or as in my case a housemate moving on and being unable to keep a tenancy on by myself.”

The Stonham HomeStay service either helps people find accommodation or for those with accommodation, who may be at risk of losing their home, stay in their property.

Anna, who now lives in a one-bedroom house in Cringleford, credits the service with saving her from homelessness. She added: “Without Stonham HomeStay I would have either ended up sofa surfing at friends or I would have ended up on the streets. It’s frightening how easily something unexpected can turn your life upside down.”

Kayley Rutland, Stonham business contracts manager, said: “Last year in Norfolk we helped more than 1,300 people in a similar situation to Anna but we are able to help many more. Anna’s experience shows that we’re able to help people find accommodation when they need it, and also help people stay in their current homes.

“Sometimes people find themselves getting into arrears with rent or basic bills so we’ll help them budget correctly so they don’t get to the stage where they may end up losing their home.”

Keeping a roof over her head isn’t the only benefit Anna has enjoyed from the Stonham HomeStay service.

She said: “The support I received also helped me to increase my social circle so I’ve made new friends. I’ve also managed to gain an apprenticeship as a support worker, working towards an NVQ in Health and Social Care, with Stonham so now I’m able to help other people in need. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

If you find yourself homeless of at risk of homelessness in Norfolk you can contact the Stonham HomeStay service on ... Tel: 0845 155 0390 or E-mail: StonhamHomestayNorfolk@homegroup.org.uk