Next Steps programme helps Thomas shut the door on the past

Thomas Newton is turning his life around after being re-housed through Telford & Wrekin Council’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme.

Next Steps programme helps Thomas shut the door on the past

The 29-year-old had been homeless and living in and out of temporary accommodation for over a decade until the council stepped in to find him a home.

Thomas now lives in a flat in Newport thanks to the programme – which has also helped him to get his whole life back on track.

During his spells of homelessness, Thomas turned to a life of drugs and crime which led to several spells in prison.

But now his new home has given him a new lease of life and the chance to look forward to a brighter future.

Thomas said: “I was in a bad way and it spiralled. I had no home, I was taking drugs, I wasn’t eating properly and I was in trouble with the law.

“I had brief spells in shared accommodation but it didn’t work out for me and I found myself mixing with the wrong crowd all the time.

“Having a permanent roof over my head through this programme has helped me to sort my life out completely.

“I’m now drug free, I’m able to see my young daughter regularly and I just feel far more settled. The past is in the past and it’s something I don’t want to go back to.”

The council’s local Rough Sleeping Taskforce initially helped Thomas by providing support and emergency accommodation before he was supported by the Next Steps programme.

As part of the Next Steps Programme the council has purchased 13 empty or disused properties across the borough and has been able to fund additional Tenancy Sustainment Officers to provide support.

The properties provide former rough sleepers with their own accommodation with a minimum 12 month tenancy and intensive support from a range of services.

Cllr David Wright, Cabinet Member for Economy, Housing, Transport and Infrastructure, said: “It’s fantastic to see how local people like Thomas have been supported into safe and suitable accommodation through the Next Steps Accommodation programme.

“This is a shining example of how this initiative can make a huge difference to people’s physical and mental wellbeing and put them back on track for a bright future.

“We continue to ensure people in our borough are supported and remain committed to helping all residents with their housing needs and making sure they have somewhere to live.”

Thomas added: “I’m really grateful for the support I’ve had from council support workers who visit and are in touch regularly to make sure everything is ok. I can’t thank them enough.

“My advice to anyone who is homeless, if you get offered support from the council through projects like this, accept it with open arms and don’t mess it up. This programme really has been a life-changer for me.”

If you see anyone rough sleeping in Telford and Wrekin, call our Housing Hotline 01952 381925. 

This service is available for anyone who is in need of help or advice. The hotline is also available for people to support the homeless by reporting an issue.