Wheatley Group has helped almost 2500 homeless people across Scotland put a roof over their heads in the last 12 months.
Scotland’s leading housing, care and property-management group has been working with Scottish Government, local authorities and other support agencies to help tackle homelessness.
Wheatley has also turned 164 temporary furnished homes into permanent homes for people living in them since June 2020 and created more than 300 Housing First tenancies through a multi-partnership set up to tackle rough sleeping.
William, 69, of Glasgow, spent years living on the streets of the city before he finally got the support he needed to turn his life around. He has been living in his own flat in Glasgow since February this year.
For William it was more than being handed keys to his own house that changed his path – it was the support he received that made the difference between life and death.
William says he wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the support of his housing officers at Wheatley Homes Glasgow, part of Wheatley Group, who he credits with turning his life around.
He said: “Getting the keys to a new house is only one small part – the support is key. I went from having nothing to having a house, with no belongings, and that was really hard.
“I can honestly say that without the support of my two housing officers I wouldn’t be here today. I was more afraid of living than I was dying and they’ve made it possible for me to live a life I never thought I could.
“I suffer with mental health issues, brought about through trauma I suffered as a child. That goes hand in hand with the addictions – it was my way of coping.”
The constant support and a listening ear are what makes William’s housing officers critical to his story.
“They go above and beyond and they are always there for me. There’s not a time they haven’t answered my calls or helped me – that has been life-changing for me,” said William.
William now has family support back in his life and he volunteers five days a week with a local charity who helped him through the tough times.
“I want to help others in the way I was. Life for me is good now, I can deal with things I would have run away from before – that’s only down to the help I’ve had from my housing officers.”
John, 79, of Galloway in south-west Scotland, found himself homeless during the pandemic. He has recently moved into a one-bedroom bungalow thanks to Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP), also part of Wheatley Group.
John had been visiting family in the area with his campervan when the first lockdown took place in March 2019 and found himself having to stay. A family breakdown during the pandemic led to him having to find himself accommodation at short notice.
“I got myself a static caravan, but I could only stay for the season as the holiday park closes for winter. I had to go back to sleeping in my campervan. It wasn’t ideal, but the way I see it was I was one of the lucky ones,” said John.
John thanked residents with connections to the Salvation Army who put him in touch with the local authority and in turn DGHP.
He added: “I didn’t really know where to turn. I’d gone back to sleeping in the camper over winter. However, I’ve really landed on my feet and I can’t thank everyone enough for all they’ve done – from the minute I was given support locally until I received my keys two months ago.
“I worked all my life until I retired, so it was a really traumatic difficult time. However, I’m really lucky – especially after finding myself homeless in my late-70s – to now have somewhere like this to call home and have lots of support.”
Hazel Young, Wheatley Group Director of Housing and Property Management, said: “We continue to do all we can to protect the most vulnerable people in society and to support those who are homeless and in greatest need in our communities. Homelessness can happen to anyone at any age.
“Working closely with our partners across the country we are helping make sure people in our communities are able to access a warm and safe place to call home.
“We will continue to do all we can to support the most vulnerable people across Wheatley communities in the east, west and south of Scotland.”
Wheatley Group, made up of five Registered Social Landlords across Scotland, aims to deliver safe, calm and peaceful neighbourhoods where people want to live. Between 2021 and 2026 Wheatley anticipate housing 10,000 homeless households.