Jimmy had been married with two children and self-employed in the steel construction industry. He went through a difficult divorce that left him homeless. A number of jobs did not come through and he ended up living in his car and driving about the country looking for work. His last job left him in the Manchester area, but no further work arose. He ended up having to abandon his car as he had no money to run it or park it.
He slept rough in Manchester city centre for approximately six months and this is how he first accessed the Booth Centre. He found employment, with help from the Booth Centre and Business in the Community whilst rough sleeping, which enabled him to gain access to a bed and breakfast for employed people. He lived in the bed and breakfast for two years and worked on and off in steel construction.
He then developed a serious hernia that prevented him from being able to work and he started accessing the Booth Centre again. His favourite activity is art, which is something he has been passionate about his entire life. He has also volunteered in the kitchen and recently took part in a self-defence class. Jimmy also frequently uses our advice service and since April 2017 he has been working with one of our Project Workers on helping him to secure a long term home and to achieve his long term goals.
He was supported by the Booth Centre to gain access to welfare benefits. However, he had fallen into rent arrears with the bed and breakfast and was in danger of becoming street homeless once again. The Booth Centre was able to negotiate with the bed and breakfast owner to allow him to stay there through claiming Housing Benefit. A small Big Change application was successful to pay off the rent arrears and stop him from being evicted onto the streets.
He was supported at the Booth Centre to register on Manchester Move and through bidding he successfully secured an unfurnished over 55s flat. This was life changing for him as it meant he had a safe and secure home for life. He was supported to set up the tenancy. This involved practical measures such as setting up utility providers, claiming housing benefit and purchasing household items using a Big Change grant. In September he reached pension age and we helped him to claim his pension.
Jimmy told us at Christmas that he feels secure in his flat and that it is the first time in a long time he felt he could focus on things important to him, like contacting his sister who he hasn’t spoken to for many years, rather than just getting by. He is also interested in pursuing art classes where he could gain a qualification. This is a testament to the goals and aspirations people can plan and aspire to once they are supported past the practical difficulties they are facing, and discover or rediscover their strengths and capabilities.