With this blog we want to show a bit about what we do and you can draw your own conclusions about the arena we work in. A young care-leaver, James, that we’ve just started working with has found himself in a council flat, lonely, waiting for his benefits and immediately facing eviction due to non-payment of rent. He reached out to us for help and has openly admitted that he hasn’t been as pro-active as he could have been in getting things sorted out. He has received confusing communications from his landlord and due to a lack of support, his own anxieties and complex system has struggled to know what to do first and to represent himself appropriately. He was asked to attend a meeting with his landlord on 25th November and asked my colleague Alex to go with him. She nearly didn’t go, as her diary was already full. Thank goodness she did. It turned out that this meeting was in fact an ‘eviction hearing’. James froze as accusations of his inaction and reluctance to put things right were thrown at him. It is not our style to do things ‘for’ young people. We prefer to work ‘with’ young people to equip them with the tools for next time. However, on this occasion Alex had to step in or he would have lost his home and been street homeless that afternoon. Alex convinced the landlord that James was engaging with us, was putting things right and wanted to keep his home. He has been given one week to put things right pending a full decision. Colleagues at MAP are supporting him with his benefits, budgeting and managing correspondence and he will now attend our Tenancy & Independent Living Skills (TILS) training next week. This is the right support at the wrong time. James, and others, shouldn’t be abandoned without sufficient support to help maintain a tenancy in a complex system of housing, benefits and moving in and out of low-paid work. Support for a group of people five times more likely to be homeless needs to be more responsive, empathic and ‘care-leaver-proofed’ to support a group of people that any society should be doing the utmost to help.