Updated: Jun 4
There have been many incredible acts of kindness and bravery during the lockdown, and Greater Manchester Housing First has had its fair share of incredible stories.
And it’s fair to say that GMHF Worker James Bennett who has pulled out all of the stops – with a little help from his friends - to help two people in these unprecedented times.
Firstly, James helped a man who was sleeping rough in Wigan.
To ensure the Government’s advice around social distancing was advised, James worked with The Brick in Wigan our partners at The Bond Board to arrange the sign-up to new property– a process that would usually take place with several people in a room.
James said: “I arranged for the man to view it the week before and he had said he needed it to be furnished before he moved in.
“I had to innovate as I carried out this sign up myself, on behalf of the Bond Board instead of having too many people in the room at one time due to social distancing requirements.
“I worked collaboratively with the Bond Board around this in having them send me all tenancy documents over an email with instructions, and then carried out everything which was required and scan all of this back over to them.
“I contacted Karen Rogers, a Great Places Neighbourhood Services Manager, who had a tenant who was moving out of a property and was leaving a lot of furniture behind.
“I reached out to Nick Groom at the Distribution centre, and was able to secure a van. I enlisted the help of my colleague on Housing First and collected all of this furniture in the van I had borrowed, and was able to fully furnish the flat which I had sourced for my client in Wigan prior to his moving in.
“This was at no cost to anyone, in fact even saved costly disposal of the furniture and white goods and most importantly had a huge impact as my customer on Housing First moved in to a fully furnished tenancy at absolutely no cost.”
In another case, James came to the rescue of a person on Housing First who was at crisis point, and had been turned away by numerous services.
James sprang into action and helped and raised the alarm with the emergency services and waited with him until the ambulance arrived, who then called the paramedics who took him straight into Hospital.
As he was recuperating, Neighbourhood Services Manager Aidan Williams arranged for his flat to be cleaned and once the man was discharged, James made sure he had food in, he had a phone so he was contactable and that the power was on.
He even spoke to the neighbours who are keeping a friendly eye on him!
These are two examples out of many how the Greater Manchester Housing First team is going above and beyond the call of duty, to help some of the most vulnerable people in our society.