When he was 27, Chris (not his real name) lost his job. After leaving school at 16 without sitting his exams, he had found work as an office assistant at a local engineering company, where he remained for 11 years. When the company went out of business not long ago, Chris found himself unemployed and, for the first time since he was 16, without a source of income.
Although initially able to claim job seekers benefits to help sustain him until he found a new job, Chris found unemployment difficult. He grew frustrated by the lack of employment opportunities available and, because he had no formal qualifications, when he did find a suitable role he was often overlooked. As the months passed by and still no job, Chris gradually fell into a depression. All his savings had gone and, after failing to cooperate fully with his job seekers agreement by repeatedly missing appointments, his benefits were suspended. With no means to pay his bills or rent, Chris was eventually evicted from his flat and found himself having to sofa surf at friends' houses to keep him off the streets.
When Chris first walked through our doors, he gave every impression of a man who wasn't quite sure where everything went wrong for him. Until he lost job, he had managed to sustain a pretty relaxed and care free life. He had a place to live, he never had to worry about being able to pay the rent and he had a job that gave him, in his own words "a sense of worth in life". In the space of a few months, all that had unravelled and his "sense of worth" had all but disappeared.
During our meetings with Chris, it was important for us to convince him that he wasn't to blame for his situation. Often when people get depressed about being unemployed, they tend to blame themselves or consider themselves useless, which can have a very negative effect on an individual's state of mind. Over a hot cup of coffee, we were able to help Chris realise that losing his job wasn't his fault and provided him with some options that would best help his future job search. We were able to convince him that his best chances of finding a new job was to fully commit to his job seekers agreement and helped him arrange an appeals meeting at the job centre, where he was able re-apply for his job seekers allowance. We even provided him with some information about how he could seek counselling in case the stress and pressure of his situation ever got too much for him, while also making sure that he knew that he could always come to us with any issues he was having.
Another one of Chris's concerns was his living situation. Although not yet on the streets, he was worried about how much longer he could stay at friends' houses before their hospitality began to wear thin. Now that he was receiving financial support from the Job Centre again, he wanted to find a place of his own to stay while he looked for work. We were able to put him in touch with a number of local housing authorities that provide cheap accommodation for people like Chris and soon after, he was off his friends couch and in his own place.
A number of weeks after first coming to us for help, Chris's life is now back on track. No longer blaming himself for his situation and fully committing to his job search, Chris making great strides in restoring his much valued "sense of worth".
Chorley Help the Homeless Ltd
45 Clifford Street
Tel: 01257 273 320
Mon, Tue, Thu: 9:30AM - 2PM
Fri: 9:30AM - 1PM