65 homeless people were given a bed in Sheffield after £5,000 donation

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Sixty five homeless people have been given a bed and a chance to establish more permanent housing by StopGap Sheffield following a £5,000 donation from The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS), the local charity has said.

The UK’s largest provider of tenancy deposit protection established a fund in 2014 to help charities that support the homeless and those who need help to live independently.

Ruth Grayson, Chair of StopGap Sheffield, said: “The DPS donation has been invaluable, if not an actual life saver, in all 65 instances.”

StopGap provides emergency short-term overnight accommodation scheme for those who might otherwise have to sleep rough.

Almost two years ago, it applied to The DPS Charity Fund for £5,000 to help them extend their reach and make sure more homeless people can escape threats of violence, hunger, bad weather and health problems.

Daren King, Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection at The DPS, said: “It’s great to see that our donation has been so well spent – and had a really positive impact on so many lives.

“I’m delighted that our Charitable Donations fund continues to help great causes such as StopGap Sheffield to provide help to those in need across the UK.”

“StopGap Sheffield provides vital services and we’re very pleased to be able to help fund the support they provide to those who need it.”

StopGap provided the following examples of people whom they had been able to help as a result of the donation.

“Andy”

One homeless man was referred to StopGap by one of the nightly soup runs in Sheffield. He had been sleeping rough in a disused school building for some time. After losing his job, he was thrown out by his partner - who remained in the family home with their children. Andy wanted to stay nearby, so he could see his children on their way to and from school, but without an address of his own, he was forbidden access to them by the courts. After just one night in StopGap accommodation, which gave him a shower and laundry facilities in addition to a good night’s sleep and a cooked breakfast, Andy gained the confidence to go and apply to the city council for housing. In due course this was successful and Andy managed to establish his own home and eventually regain regular access to his children. Just one night in safe, warm accommodation made all the difference in his case.

“Christina”

Christina found herself in a desperate situation when her partner suddenly became very aggressive toward her. She had come with him to England from Bulgaria after he got a UK work permit. Being from Bulgaria, Christina was not able to access public funds and so she was not eligible for help in a refuge for victims of domestic violence. When homelessness seemed like a certainty, StopGap was the only organisation in Sheffield able and willing to keep her safe and off the streets while longer-term arrangements could be made.

“Brian”

Brian had also lost his job and subsequently fallen into rent arrears. He was referred to StopGap by one of the day centres working with homeless people in the city. After a couple of nights in a warm bed, the welfare officer at the centre was able to find him supported accommodation where Brian is now said to be doing well. He has regular work and is making friends with some of the other residents.

Charities focused on the housing sector can apply for funds via The DPS’ website at www.depositprotection.com/charity. Applications for the next round of awards must be submitted by 31 March 2017.