Ultimately, there is one long-term solution to homelessness: getting anyone who has experienced it into suitable independent accommodation, so that they can move on and build new lives.
That is our aim for everybody who comes to Evolve. After people arrive, we provide whatever support they need to take that next step away from homelessness, their own home. It might be vocational training, mental health support or advice navigating the rental market and finding somewhere to rent; whatever people need we do our best to help, with their ‘move on’ being the ultimate goal. This could be to into social housing (although here is often a long wait) or into a private rented property.
However, it isn’t easy. Even for people who are physically and mentally ready to move, barriers remain. For lots of people at Evolve, especially if they are younger, there aren’t many places to move to; high rents, a lack of social housing and reluctance from private landlords to rent to people who have been homeless limits availability significantly. Outside of our services the cost of bills also increases and support is more limited, which can be require adjustment.
Then there are the costs associated with moving itself. How do you move a whole life across London if you don’t have any money to spare? How do you furnish a new place, and how do you cover costs for deposits, required up front and sometimes running into thousands of pounds?
We do everything we can to support our customers at this stage. We have already worked with them to foster independent living skills by that point, and we continue to provide a level of support for the first 6 weeks after they move. We can also give help and advice with things like budgeting and bills. However, this doesn’t necessarily mitigate the tangible costs involved.
Nonetheless, we still see amazing outcomes on a regular basis. From young people moving into their own rented flats for the first time, to older customers regaining their independence after years of uncertainty, successful ‘move ons’ show just what a difference we can make. When people are ready to move, and find somewhere that is right for them, they can do whatever they want with thier lives and leave past experiences behind for good.
In the words of Leilah, one of our resettlement workers “Everyone deserves a chance, and when they get it, usually they take it.”
Moving people on in difficult, but it is ultimately how we make lasting, long-term change.
Evolve’s ongoing Move53 campaign is raising money to support the process of moving customers into new homes. Find out more and donate here.