A housing association has turned documentary filmmaker to tell some of the stories of people whose lives were turned around for the better by having a secure and stable home.
One of the hidden stories brought to light in the film “So Far” by Accent Housing is that of Pete and Suzanne (pictured below); a couple made temporarily homeless, they tell how they were reunited in a new home provided by the national housing association in the new documentary.
Pete broke down in tears as he tells of how he and his partner Suzanne were made homeless after a dispute with a private landlord. At his most desperate, Pete was sleeping in his car at night while holding down a job during the day, and Suzanne was ‘sofa surfing’.
“We know that social housing can be misunderstood, through the filming of So Far we want to help change perceptions,” said Accent’s chief executive, Paul Dolan. “We brought staff and customers together from all over the country to share their experiences of living with and working for Accent.
“The conversations that appear in the film are as raw and unedited as possible. We wanted to capture the essence of what is at the heart of our people and the importance of home, something many of us take for granted, and how it can literally save a person’s life.”
The one-hour documentary film highlights the stories of several of its tenants. Each is told through interviews between Accent’s housing officers and tenant in a bid to break down stereotypes and misconceptions about the social housing sector.
In Pete and Suzanne’s case, the couple’s plight was brought to the attention of housing officer Paul Hills, who worked with them to provide a new home in Camberley, Surrey, and support them as they set about building a new life together.
In the film, an emotional Pete explains “it means the world” to be together again in a place of their own. He goes on to add: “It was Paul, our housing officer, who got us out of that difficult situation. We are so grateful for the help we have received.”
Accent Housing, headquartered in West Yorkshire, is a national housing association that provides homes and services for more than 40,000 people across England in Shipley, Burnley, Camberley, Peterborough and Middlesbrough.
Dolan added: “Alongside Pete and Suzanne, we talk to young mums who we have helped and supported to build a safe and secure home for their children. Simon who we moved to the other side of the country after he was threatened by a neighbour.
“And, Richard who had privately rented for many years, held down a successful job and never thought he would need the support of a housing association, but was suddenly made homeless out of the blue.”