3000+
Individuals and families who received support to remain in their home or to move into a new home.
800+
Individuals and families who received support to find the help and support they needed via advice and signposting.
6000+
Phone calls received and made to assist people who are in need of housing support.

These are the results from our first year's work.

					
4
Primary Housing Needs Positive Move On Support to find access to accommodation Develop independent living skills

97%

have been supported to better manage their mental health and 96% their physical health.

Better Mental Health Link With Communities Support at appeals tribunals

Each person has a support plan, which we develop with them, across ten areas of support. Scores are from 1 (much support needed) to 10 (no support needed). Our support plan distance travelled report for the year 2017 - March 2018 showed over 1800 support plans had been reviewed.

On average, people have felt a positive and increasing distance travelled in every support category.

Accommodation

2.71 / 10 increase

Money

1.81 / 10 increase

Self Care & Harmful Behaviour

1.07 / 10 increase

Substance Misuse

0.54 / 10 increase

Domestic Abuse

0.91 / 10 increase

Work & Learning

0.91 / 10 increase

Self-Care & Harmful Behaviour

1.07 / 10 increase

Empowerment & Support Network

1.15 / 10 increase

Legal Issues

0.63 / 10 increase

A man in his mid-60s struggling to keep his tenancy

Background:

Peter moved into Leeds City Council sheltered accommodation after having various tenancies, which he had lost due to his hoarding & lack of self-care. Peter had lived for a long period in a caravan on his brother’s land. Peter had always lived very near his brother who supported him with everyday tasks & personal care.

Peter states that he has a history of mental health issues which worsened with the death of his mother. The sheltered accommodation was several miles from Peter’s brother. Peter spent hardly any time there, and was served with an abandonment notice. He also accrued arrears in this time with his service charge & utilities. Peter was referred to Adult social care following a meter reading appointment by the gas company who were concerned with the amount of rubbish & paperwork in the flat and lack of furniture

Support Provided:

Peter’s Support Worker’s priorities were to support and encourage him to clear and dispose of the rubbish, and to find an alternative to the loose paper Peter wrote and kept his thoughts on. Then to obtain furniture and fittings for the flat and encourage Peter to maintain the up keep of the flat and his personal hygiene.

Longer term, the Engage Leeds worker supported Peter to make and stick to suitable affordable payment plans for the debt he had accrued, and to apply for other accommodation nearer his brother.

Outcome Achieved:

Within three months of Peter being supported, the living room at his flat was completely clear of rubbish, mostly through his own efforts.  He is proud of the progress he has made and now enjoys living in the flat. Peter is considering a cleaner to help him maintain the flat. Most of the arrears on Peter’s service charge have been cleared. He has made some of his utility arrears payments, but these need to become regular.

The improvement in his housing situation appears to be having a positive impact on Peter’s mental health, his motivation is high and his mood is positive for the future. He now has a writing book he records his thoughts and feelings in.

A unemployed man in his early 30s: Engage Leeds Employment and Engagement Service

Background:

David was referred by a Community Health Practitioner for support around finding employment. He attended an Engage Leeds Opportunity Shop and explained that he had lost his job a couple of months earlier after 15 years with the same construction company. The company lost a contract and whilst there was still work it meant he’d have to move 90 miles away. David could not move for personal reasons and his mental health suffered as a result of losing his job. He was diagnosed with anxiety and depression and was placed on medication. David said his confidence was at an extremely low ebb and he was struggling to see how he’ll find employment in the foreseeable future. David had held a supervisory role, but now felt that he didn’t want any responsibility for the time-being and would look at a labouring position.

Support Provided:

David took part in Engage Leeds football sessions to improve his physical and mental well-being. His Support Worker observed a quiet, but knowledgeable, articulate and polite man, who was low on confidence. David also had an excellent CV and the Support Worker discussed how he would be an asset to any employer given his experience around the construction industry. David agreed to an email being sent to Neo outlining his predicament along with his CV.  Neo are a construction company Engage Leeds work alongside on occasion, supporting those facing barriers to employment back into the workplace.

Outcome Achieved:

Neo agreed to interview David, and offered him a labouring position to start the following week. Things moved so quickly that David had to request his GP sign him fit for work a week earlier than his sick note ran out. The GP duly obliged!

Three weeks into the role David says he is “loving it” and “it’s great to be getting up for work again”. And our contact at Neo informs us that all is going well.

A single-parent refugee with 5 children: Engage Leeds Advice Service

Background:

Ranim is in her late 30s and has five children of school age. One child has a severe disability. They fled the conflict in the Middle East. They live in private rented accommodation – the rent is high, but the benefit cap meant that Ranim was only receiving 50p a week in housing benefit. Ranim is assessed as being capable of worker, so she is a Job Seeker. There are communication difficulties due to English not being her first language. The family were struggling financially, and Ranim was experiencing physical and emotional issues due to caring for disabled child.

Support Provided:

Ranim’s Advice Worker’s priority was to try to resolve these issues by looking into and applying for alternative benefits for herself and family in order for benefit cap to be removed. Together, they applied for Personal Independence Payments and the disabled element of Child Tax Credit on behalf of Ranim’s 16 year old disabled child and for Ranim to receive Carer’s Allowance.

To support this, the Advice Worker liaised with school to gather medical evidence and assisted Ranim in applying for applying for a blue badge / bus pass.

Having successfully achieved these changes, Ranim and her Advice Worker were able to argue for the benefit cap to be removed. Housing Benefit/Council Tax Support

Outcome Achieved:

Because of the change in Ranim’s circumstances, and her caring responsibilities, the benefit cap was lifted. Ranim now receives full Council Tax and Housing Benefit support. She has financial security and can concentrate on caring for her family, in particular her disabled child.

A family living in a car

Background:

Susan is in her late 40s. She lives with her 18 year old daughter (who is her primary carer) and 8 year old son. The family were evicted from a local authority tenancy due to significant rent arrears. Suspension of Susan’s benefits had exacerbated this situation:  she hadn’t complied with her Job Seekers Agreement, as she had been unwell for several years although the indicators were not recognised by any involved parties. The family were found living in their car at the bottom of their garden by their former housing officer who contacted statutory services due to safeguarding concerns. Susan was detained under the Mental Health Act. Her eldest son had to leave his university course before completing his course and come back to Leeds to care for his younger siblings at the request of Children’s Social Care whilst mum was being treated as an in-patient. While she was in hospital, Susan signed a a tenancy agreement for a privately rented property. No support was in place when this family were referred to Engage Leeds.

Support Provided:

The family’s Support Worker’s priority was to get them in a positive position for rehousing so they have a chance to secure suitable affordable accommodation. The Support Worker first helped the family to tackle their benefit entitlements and debts…. arrears from the property they were evicted from, and current arrears that put the new private tenancy at significant risk. Susan wasn’t really aware of, nor have the capacity to fully understand the circumstances or implications. The Support Worker liaised closely with Leeds Housing Options, and organised a meeting between them and the Private Letting agent. Throughout, the Engage Leeds worker provided the family with emotional and advocacy support to deal with housing, benefits agencies, and made a referral to the Community Mental Health Team for ongoing support for Susan.

Outcome Achieved:

The Support Worker’s actions prevented the loss of the family’s current accommodation, while also supporting them to look for more affordable accommodation. Susan is now receiving Personal Independence Payments, and the family is awaiting a decision on carer’s allowance.

Debts relating to former and current tenancy arrears and tax issues have been resolved.

Susan’s mental health has significantly improved. Her Support Worker has noted a significant change in her overall wellbeing during support and Susan feels she has a future.

A homeless woman in her late fifties with mental and physical health issues

Background:

Alison collapsed in the home that she owned and was admitted to hospital. The property was in a state of disrepair: Alison had had no form of heating for two years, no toilet facilities and she was a severe hoarder. The hospital refused to discharge Alison back to her property, so her sister said she could stay with her temporarily on the sofa. Alison was very emotional, ashamed and embarrassed when her family discovered the way she was living. Alison had experienced depression and anxiety since the death of her mother, six years earlier. Before that, she had volunteered with the Salvation Army until her health deteriorated. Her physical health issues included COPD, incontinence, being deaf in one ear, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Support Provided:

As Alison owned her own property, she needed to prove she was taking reasonable steps to sell it before she could claim Housing Benefit. This was complicated because there was a 35 year old charge on the property which had to be removed before it was put up for auction.

Alison’s Support Worker helped her to negotiate this, and supported in her in applying for housing and benefits, particularly Personal Independence Payments. Alison was able to get her utility costs refunded for the time her property had been empty. The Support Worker also referred Alison to the Community Mental Health Team.

Outcome Achieved:

Personal Independence Payments were awarded, at the high rate for daily living and care. Alison moved into new accommodation in a scheme for over 55s, close to her son in Kirklees, meaning she now has family support close. Her physical health has improved, and she is no longer hoarding. Alison’s mental health is also dramatically improved and she is on a waiting list for counselling. She is paying her full rent with income from the sale of her property. Alison is volunteering with The Salvation army again.

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What do people we work with think?

From the people we support:

“There isn't enough thank yours in the world to say thank you! I honestly don't know where I'd be now! … Thank you for your time, patience, effort and kindness”

“The help provided has changed my life - I now have a new home”.

“I am very grateful for the support and help. This is the first time anyone has really persisted to support me and help me sort out my life. Thank You”

“My Support Worker helped me immensely… in a desperate situation to be re-homed …. she was able to give me an insight regarding certain behaviours and issues that will help me in the future …. as well as arranging support from other services”

From the agencies we work with:

“Improved collaboration since Engage started, between visiting support, social services and hospital work”

“Thank you for all your help and support… you have really helped me out too, as it was proving quite stressful managing the case on my own! So thank you, I really appreciate it and also your continued communication and updates regarding your involvement”

“Thank you so much for the effort and very personalised service. This was regarding a referral as the client refused our involvement”

“I would like to thank you for the help that you have given to the family and you continue to give. The mum has been very positive about you and she acknowledges that she would not have imagined how far they have come from where they were this time last year. Thank you for your support”