Jim’s story

Jim never expected to become homeless. But, when he was suddenly forced to leave the room he was renting during lockdown, with no notice and for no apparent reason, his life had suddenly turned upside down.

Filled with the anxiety of having nowhere to turn, a friend encouraged Jim to get in touch with Dacorum Borough Council, who supported with a personalised housing plan and arranged for him to access our hostel, The Elms.

Jim was provided a warm bed for the night in our emergency Crash Pad facility. He then visited our Day Centre, where staff helped him secure short-term accommodation at our 44-bed hostel.

The sudden change into a new setting and routine at the hostel was a shock at first, but Jim was thankful to have a safe haven with a cozy bed and warm shower.

“It was a real cross-section of people in here,” explained Jim. “I just tried to keep my humour going, which does help. Everyone now says to me, ‘we miss your wisecracking!’”

Throughout his time at the hostel, Jim received specialist support from his Key Worker – something he’s hugely grateful for.

“My Key Worker was wonderful, as are absolutely all of them,” added Jim.

After five months at The Elms, Jim’s Key Worker helped him find a new place of his own. This accommodation offers support for his mobility needs, after he sustained a serious leg injury. There, he enjoys growing runner beans in his small garden and chatting with fellow residents over a cup of coffee.

“It’s a dream. I’m back in the town that I know and it’s a tremendously safe place.”

Jim’s access needs were further supported at the Day Centre, where they helped him apply for a Blue Badge disability parking permit.

Delighted with the progress DENS has helped him make, Jim decided he wanted to return the favour by volunteering in his free time. He’s now taken on a regular role at the hostel’s reception, and loves catching up with residents when checking them in to their rooms.

When asked why he volunteers for DENS, Jim simply said, “I owe DENS virtually all I’ve got. It’s amazing what they’ve done for me.”

Story published on 27th May 2022.

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