Supporting entrenched rough sleepers

Surviving sanctions

To make it out of homelessness permanently, each person needs individualised support.

In a recent study, different barriers to leaving behind homelessness were looked at in detail.

The ‘Welfare Conditionality’ report found that of the homeless people they spoke to, those “who made greatest progress were those in receipt of individually tailored and intensive support”.

The report also found that sanctions caused considerable psychological and financial distress. They were “a common trigger for extreme anxiety, depression, the onset or escalation of debt, relapses during addiction recovery, and repeat episodes of homelessness.”

The small grants provided by Church Homeless Trust are often a life-raft that helps people who have been sanctioned.

Donnie spent his childhood in care from a very young age. After some time in supported housing he joined the army, but once he finished basic training he had no one to turn to.

Now staying at a scheme for homeless veterans, he applied to be a retained fire fighter and attend a two week course that provided meals and accommodation. But, after being sanctioned by the Job Centre, he couldn’t even afford the train fare to the course. Church Homeless Trust paid for his travel and he has now completed the training.

Kenneth moved out of a homelessness scheme into his own accommodation, but got back in touch with the service following a difficult period in his life where he lost a close his friend and his brother. It brought on a period of depression and he neglected his home. It was unfurnished when he moved in and he felt unable to invite people over.

During that time he was sanctioned repeatedly by the job centre, and was receiving only £34.75 per week. He has since been referred to a floating support service, and received support from Church Homeless Trust to buy some furniture for his home. He has chosen a comfortable sofa and looks forward to inviting friends over to his home.