Erin Wolson
Erin Wolson

By Erin Wolson

‘Having my own place makes a massive difference’

When we first met Matthew, he’d been homeless for two years and sleeping on the streets of Manchester. ‘I was at my lowest point,’ he’d later tell us. But now – thanks to help from Shelter – he’s back on his feet and rebuilding his life.

‘I’m so grateful I went to Shelter,’ Matthew said.

‘There have been so many positive changes. Even when I haven’t been the easiest person to work with, Shelter’s staff have shown such patience. I’ll never forget what they’ve done for me.

‘They were there to help me sort out my finances and benefits. They got me back on track with my health needs, and just built me up and boosted my confidence, which was very low back then.

‘But, biggest of all, they helped me to find a privately rented flat of my own, and I’ve been living here since November 2016.’

‘I was lonely before’

This flat has provided Matthew with much more than a roof over his head. It’s given him a home. A place where he can plan for the future and do those everyday things that most of us take for granted.

‘Having my own place makes a massive difference in my life,’ Matthew said. ‘Just having a shower of my own, and the ability to choose what to eat for my dinner and when – these are the little things in life that make me feel more secure and stable.

‘And now I have somewhere to invite people back to. Whereas I was lonely before, now I can make friends with shared interests.’

A home changes everything

In Manchester, Shelter is pioneering a new scheme called ‘Housing First’, which gives people like Matthew intensive, one-to-one support to help them find permanent accommodation.

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