Changing Real Lives – Andy & Michelle

 

Andy and Michelle, who met in a winter night shelter, were sleeping rough in Nottingham.

Andy, who had grown used to a life of displacement after leaving the care system, was trapped in a cycle of offending, hostels, rough sleeping and alcohol abuse. Michelle was fleeing an abusive relationship.

Andy-&-Michelle-IMG_6430The couple were supported by Framework’s Street Outreach Team, and later referred to John for resettlement support.

Andy: “We’d been sleeping out for about eight months together when we came into contact with the Street Outreach Team. We stayed beneath a hotel for a while and then under the canal bridge in a tent until our tent and belongings were set on fire and we lost the little that we had. It was a difficult way to live and my body is paying for it – I’ve recently suffered a huge heart attack.

“John has been great from the beginning, his friendly demeanour and knowledge of support available has helped us move away from a very difficult place in our lives. He’s been supporting us since mid-January and it’s great to see a friendly face two or three times a week or just to know he’s at the end of the phone if needed.

“He helped us to find the rented flat that we’re in currently and agreed a payment plan for the rent and deposit that was manageable with our benefit income. John also worked to make the first night in our flat comfortable and found us a bed, furnishings and collected food parcels to ensure we had enough to eat. That first night we slept so well in the bed, the first time we’d slept in one for months, that we missed appointment the next morning with him!”

Michelle: “We’ve had help budgeting and filling in forms and we’ve got an appointment with Tenancy Support at Framework which will keep us going if we need further support after John stops working with us. Andy has been introduced to the Last Orders alcohol prevention service and is waiting for his first appointment thanks to John.

“We’re really happy in the place that we live now but it is a short tenancy so we’re hoping to find our own place together with a private kitchen and bathroom as at the moment we’re sharing. It is great to have a roof over our heads but the resettlement service has enabled us to put so much more in place and we’ve both started volunteering at a café twice a week that provides free meals for people who need it.”

Andy: “Even though I’m born and bred in Nottingham I wouldn’t have known about half the support unless I’d met John. It’s a pretty lonely existence on the streets – even as a couple. People tend to find out about support and not want to share it with others for fear of missing out themselves. Without this help I imagine I’d have gotten into trouble out of desperation and probably been arrested. We certainly wouldn’t have had a home and the hopes for the future that we have now.”