At least Wimbledon has a roof
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The bad weather at Wimbledon over the weekend has threatened to extend the famous tennis tournament by an extra day. Saturday’s rain caused havoc meaning that some players may have to play on consecutive days to avoid matches taking place on Monday.
With only one roof between the nineteen championship courts it doesn’t take much to disrupt the plans of spectators, TV companies and players alike.
But at least Wimbledon has a roof – that’s more than can be said for the thousands of people who have nowhere to call home. During 2013/14 over 112,000 people in England had to approach their local council as they were threatened with homelessness–a 26% increase over 4 years.
There are varying reasons why people become homeless and the rough sleepers that you may have seen in the doorways in your local city-centre are only the tip of an iceberg that is reportedly getting larger every year. Anyone can become homeless and very often it’s through no fault of their own.
John* has a global development delay diagnosis and was the sole care provider for his dad before he had to move into residential care. After his father moved out of the family home, John had to leave too. Luckily, John wasn’t homeless for long as he was placed in temporary accommodation whilst he was assessed to see if he was capable of living independently.
With the help of Mencap who provide help with basic life skills (including healthy eating), and Bromford who have supported him to move into his own accommodation, John is now thriving in the local community. He attends College where he is studying life skills, including reading, writing and cooking. As well as learning these vital skills, John also spends one day a week volunteering at a community gardening project.
John lost his home because of his father’s health but there are a growing number of people who are finding themselves homeless when their private rent tenancy agreements come to an end. The number of people made homeless in this way has trebled in the past five years and is now the most common cause of homelessness in England with over 3,300 assured short-hold tenancies being ended in the first quarter of 2014. This trend shows the importance of having affordable housing for those who need it most.
Having somewhere safe and secure to live is crucial to helping you to achieve your personal goals whatever they may be. Suitable accommodation is vital when building the foundations for a successful and healthy life as Tom has learned since spending time on the streets.
Tom became homeless at the age of 16 – he slept behind bins at Spar and had to rummage in those bins for food. “I once went three days without eating or drinking,” he recalls. He walked aimlessly during the day, becoming increasingly exhausted with lack of sleep and warmth. He suffered from depression, followed by suicidal thoughts. Tom took tablets and self-harmed, even holding a knife to his throat every night; but couldn’t go through with it. He was left with no family or friends, no money and no clothes.
Tom doesn’t know what the future holds for him but he is rebuilding his relationship with his family and friends after Bromford helped him move on from his past, and supported him ready for his next big step in life: “I am never going back to being homeless again,” he said.