Justlife: Handing out boxes of hope


Getting off the street isn’t as simple as just being given a place to live.

As Justlife Manchester’s research reveals, when someone makes the move into emergency accommodation after a period of homelessness they often don’t have the basic things they need. Most people will just have the clothes on their back. Usually, a bed and cooker will be provided, but no bedding or cooking utensils.

This is why The DPS Fund has donated £10,050 to help keep ‘The Fresh Start Project’ running.

Justlife foundation DPS cheque handover


PHOTO: Daren King, Head of Tenancy Deposit Protection at The DPS (left), hands a £10,050 donation to Simon Gale, Brighton Operations Manager and Kate Standing, Project Manager at Justlife.

The Fresh Start Project provides move-in packs. A typical box will include food, kitchen items, bedding, toiletries and items most of us take for granted like an alarm clock, notebook and pen.

Volunteers help source donations from local companies to bring the overall costs of the boxes down. They also muck in by packing boxes and delivering them to the individuals for when they move into their temporary accommodation.

Some other items sourced by the project include photo frames or plants, to try and get a feeling of personalisation and home for the occupants after the stress of sleeping rough. A radio is sometimes included, which can really help with the feelings of loneliness experienced by someone in a new and empty home. 

Justlife decided to start the project after researching the lives of people moving into Unattended Temporary Accommodation (UTA). Their findings were as follows:

  • A person entering into the world of UTA should reasonably expect to be there for an unspecified amount of time
  • Once individuals enter UTA they experience a sharp decline in health and wellbeing.
  • 87% of the 45 individuals living in UTA who participated in the research felt ‘completely out of control of their lives’
  • 84% reported deteriorating mental health and 49% reported deteriorating physical health.

By providing these items, the project aims to decrease abandonment of accommodation, and improve physical and mental health.

Andy Morris from Justlife told us “People often have problems with their benefits when they first move in to emergency accommodation so we include essential food parcels. Our vision is clear and simple…to make people’s experience of housing vulnerability as short, safe and healthy as possible.”

Further to this, Justlife is trying to change things from the ground up by sharing what they’ve learned from working on the frontline of homelessness - engaging with decision makers and those involved in policy at a national and local level.

For more information on Justlife’s work, visit their website here.

If you work for or know of any more fantastic charities focused on the housing sector that would benefit from funding, please don’t hesitate to apply for funding.

Applications for the next round of awards must be submitted by 31 March 2020.