Emma Magee
Photograph by Richard Walker/ www.imagenorth.net

Name: Michael

Age: Late 40s

Help Received: A path to benefits


Michael’s Story

Michael had lived and worked in Guildford all his life. 2 years ago Michael, was made redundant from his job where he had been working for the past 18 months. previous to this Michael, worked in the same job for 15 years but left to further develop his career in engineering. Michael, struggled to find alternative employment and slowly he felt his life spiral out of control. the only option available to Michael, was to access welfare benefits, however even this door closed on him as the ID he had, expired 6 months ago, and without correct ID, he was unable to claim. Michael had no money to renew his ID, he was using food banks regularly so he could feed himself whilst his debts continued to rise as he was unable to pay for utilities and other associated living costs.

Sadly, Michael eventually lost his home and ended up rough sleeping in Farnham, as he was too ashamed to rough sleep in Guildford. Michael’s self-esteem reduced day by day, he had no respect for himself and had lost hope that his situation would ever change. Things became too much for Michael and after a failed attempt to take his life, he was finally picked up by the mental health team and diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. Michael was assigned a mental health worker who applied for funding from local charity’s so that Michael’s ID can be renewed. Once completed, Michael was referred to a local homeless hostel in Guildford which was the glimmer of hope he had been looking for so long!


The Real Change You Can Make

Real Change Guildford is co designed and run in partnership with experts by experience, like Michael. Real Change Guildford is a campaign to end homelessness in the borough by preventing homelessness in the first place. Michael’s homelessness could have been prevented for the sake of £100 to fund his ID applications for a new birth certificate and passport, this would have released his entitlement to welfare benefits and kept him going whilst he looked for new employment. Real Change Guildford is here to ensure no one becomes homeless for the sake of a few pounds and for those that are currently homeless, Real Change can support people to exit the streets through practical support, be it by providing rent in advance, white goods, or some respite to clear your head, some new shoes, a kettle, or even a brand new bed!

Real Change is a community approach owned by the community and committed to ending and preventing homeless, there’s so much we can do to help, your little change and make a big change, a real change for Guildford.

Help us to save lives by changing lives, come and get involved!