Every minute matters when a family is facing a housing emergency.
Our helpline answers around 100 calls a day from people in need of help with their housing. Many of them are in desperate situations, so our advisers spring straight into action. Now we need your help so that we can continue our round the clock support.
One of the many advisers working on our helpline is Adam. He’s been working here since June and has already helped many people in desperate circumstances. ‘When I first started working at Shelter, I was bowled over by just how much is done, every day, to save people from homelessness,’ he says.
The helpline that Adam works on is open 365 days a year and offers a real lifeline to people who are in the midst of a housing emergency. ‘We do focus specifically on emergency situations, such as people who are at risk of homelessness, people who are overwhelmed by the situation, people who might have a place to stay but nowhere to call home,’ Adam adds.
Sophie’s housing emergency
The calls Adam answers can be emotional, but it’s a helpline adviser’s job to reassure people that they will get help. Adam explains: ‘You do receive a lot of emotional callers, but, through the advice, you can turn it round and make them feel a lot calmer and a lot more positive going away from the conversation.’
One day Adam answered a call from Sophie, who had very suddenly found herself in a desperate situation. She was sitting in her car outside her local council office with her husband and two young children. The kids were tired and hungry, but the family couldn’t go home.
Events in Sophie’s life had altered her financial situation very quickly. Not long ago, Sophie and her husband were both working and saving for a place of their own. Then their working hours were cut, childcare costs went through the roof, and they found themselves with no money, no family support, and nowhere to spend the night.
But then Sophie called our helpline and Adam picked up her call. ‘In Sophie’s case, after she had spoken with us, I advised her that we were going to get in contact with the council on her behalf, and try and figure out what they’re going to do to help her,’ Adam recalls.
He listened carefully and started to formulate a plan. Sophie was distraught, but Adam reassured her with words like: ‘I’m going to do everything I can to help you’ and ‘I can speak to them on your behalf.’
Springing into action, he helped Sophie’s family find somewhere to spend the night. ‘After the call, the client spoke with the out-of-hours team at the council, who weren’t able to understand why she wasn’t helped in the first place. So, that night, she was accommodated with temporary accommodation.’
‘It’s one of those jobs where you really feel like you’re really making a difference to people”Adam, helpline adviser
By working quickly and efficiently, Adam made a real difference for Sophie, and her family was able to find somewhere safe and secure to stay. But Sophie is just one example of the many people Shelter’s helpline advisers help every single day.
‘It’s one of those jobs where you really feel like you’re really making a difference to people,’ Adam says. ‘In this national housing emergency where words like eviction, repossession, and temporary accommodation are constantly in the news, I speak to the people who are living it. I’m so grateful to you that we can help them.’
Helpline advisers like Adam are our ‘helpline heroes’ and they do all they can to help people facing housing emergencies every day of the year. However, we need your support to keep the helpline going so that Adam and others can keep helping people.
‘Everything that we do, we can only do because of our supporters,’ Adam says. ‘Your contributions have definitely gone a long way already in terms of the amount of support we can get for clients. Services like this – without them, a lot of people would be stuck.’
We’re very fortunate to have people like Adam who can take quick action whenever a family in need of support calls Shelter about a housing emergency.