A stable, secure and appropriate home is the foundation that enables any of us to thrive.
For nine years, Ben lived in rented accommodation, supported by Affinity Trust. In that time, he lived in four different properties. He had no security of tenure, and often the property he lived in was being rented while the landlord made plans to renovate and sell so few repairs were carried out. Earlier in 2022, he once again found himself facing losing his home because his private landlord was selling the property. With pressure on the housing market, it became increasingly difficult to find somewhere that would meet his needs and give security of tenure.
Ben has autism, and a severe communication disorder including extra-sensitive hearing and high emotional empathy, making him very aware of other people’s feelings. Living with noise, or in close proximity to others causes him great distress which in time affects his physical and mental health.
In the first instance, we converted staff accommodation in a supported living scheme into a temporary flat, so Ben did not have to go into institutional care. However, with staff needing their facilities and Ben’s sensory needs, this was not a long-term solution and the search was on to find him a permanent, suitable home.
We approached one of our housing partners, Places for People as we know that they will purchase self-contained bungalows where people we support can live on their own with our 24/7 support. Affinity Trust and Places for People have worked together for many years. We both share the same values of getting support and housing right for people with disabilities.
Ben’s staff were fantastic in supporting him through a very challenging time. Involving his family was also very important, which helped make sure the bungalow identified met his needs perfectly. Everyone worked together to find him the right place to live – even Ben was looking, searching housing websites on the internet.
Affinity Trust also received invaluable support from local commissioners in Leicestershire. They helped us work with the local housing benefit department to get the rent level agreed. Ben’s new home is an example of the high-quality personalised accommodation that the exempt accommodation housing benefit regulations were meant to support.
Places for People refurbished the bungalow to a very high standard, and Ben was involved throughout, keeping up to date through visits and photos. He also chose some of the furniture himself.
His mum, Pat, said: “When we heard that Affinity Trust and Places for People were looking for somewhere for Ben to live, we were delighted and relieved.
“Ben’s new home is perfect for him, in a quiet residential location with outside space. He has a large living room which allows his desk and laptop to be in a good position and gives him space to move around.
“The local shop and country walks are close by. The smile on his face when he walked through the door for the first time was amazing. He loves it.”
Ben has a very close family and his parents, all three siblings and his aunt are involved in his care.
Pat continued: “We are all so grateful to Affinity Trust for supporting him, and to both Affinity Trust and Places for People for the effort and expertise that has gone into finding this wonderful home for him.
“For the first time, Ben has the space and security to develop his full potential and live a happy fulfilled life.”
Charlotte Betts, Head of Housing at Affinity Trust was instrumental in finding Ben’s new home and getting him rehoused. She said: “Ben now has long-term security in place where he can live his best life. Seeing him walk around the bungalow with his mum for the first time was an emotional experience for all.
“Getting the right housing for people with disabilities is really hard but with a shared commitment and tenacity, great outcomes are possible.”