photo above compliments of the Vineyard Community Centre, Richmond

5 September 2018

With two new locations south of the Thames River, Glass Door's casework service is now available in five locations across West and South West London. The latest extension of the casework service can be found in Putney and Richmond, adding to existing services in Chelsea, South Kensington and Wandsworth. 

Since June 2018, individuals affected by homelessness can go to The Yard, an organisation run by the South West London Vineyard, to speak with Senior Caseworker Boguslaw. The Yard hosts a number of services aimed at the local community, including the Wandsworth Foodbank and their own Job Club where people can go to receive help when looking for work. 

Boguslaw is available to speak with visitors to The Yard every Tuesday, 12-3pm. 

Boguslaw has already helped many locals struggling with a range of housing-related challenges. Mary, for example, sought advice after she suspected she had been overcharged by the council.

Mary's story

Mary, 57, was working part-time and claiming Housing Benefit to help pay for her rent. However, her Housing Benefit was reduced after her local council claimed she hadn't informed them about an increase in her income. Says Boguslaw: 

Mary was already struggling to make ends meet. This set-back threatened the fragile stability of her housing situation. 

The first problem was that Mary (not her real name) struggled to get online and navigate the council's digital system. She hadn't sent electronic copies of all her payslips on time, and the payslip she did send in included a one-off bonus. Thus, her annual income was incorrectly calculated. The council claimed Mary now owed £500 in over payments. 

Boguslaw helped Mary to dispute the council's claim and managed to get her Housing Benefit recalculated. To help make the case, he accompanied Mary to her local council to meet with a Benefits Officer and navigate the complex paperwork. The council retracted their decision and subsequently reduced her over-payment.

Says Boguslaw:

She was getting quite depressed about it. We were able to have a positive outcome that I think has made a big difference in her ability to cope. I haven't seen her since, which is a good sign. 

Richmond partnership becomes permanent

Glass Door also began offering casework support in Richmond when the shelters expanded into the borough on a trial basis. We are now happy to announce that both the shelter and casework support will continue in Richmond in the coming year.

Says Glass Door's interim COO Ralph Griffin: 

It's clear to all that the need for both casework and shelter is growing throughout all of London. The wider Glass Door team have worked their magic to secure funding and dedicated staff to continue these vital services. We very much appreciate the support from all our partners in Richmond, who have made all this possible. 

Glass Door Caseworker Lewis operates out of the Vineyard Community Centre, where Michael is one of dozens of guests whom Lewis has supported into housing. 

Michael's story

After Michael’s relationship with his former partner broke down, he returned from the North – where he had moved to care for his dying sister – back to Richmond, where he had been a long term resident.

Richmond was the only place Michael regarded as “home”. Michael, at 57 and with high-support needs of his own, soon found himself homeless with no job prospects and no offer of support from the council.

Lewis speaking with Michael at the drop-in. Photo compliments of The Vineyard. 

Michael turned to the Vineyard Community Centre and met with Lewis to discuss his options.

After reviewing Michael’s case, Lewis arranged for free legal assistance, which successfully led to an offer of private rented accommodation in the borough. Lewis then helped Michael move and even helped him apply for local grants to furnish the bare flat.

Lewis has been providing ongoing Tenancy Support and sees Michael regularly at the Vineyard Community Centre.

Caseworker Lewis offers his support at the Vineyard Community Centre.

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Glass Door offers daytime support year-round.

Read other stories like Michael's and Mary's.