It’s tough furnishing your first home, especially when it might be your first home after experiencing homelessness. You may be offered a property but then have to find carpets, furniture and white goods all before you can really live there. You may even be tempted to return to your hostel or night-shelter, where you had a furnished room.
If you need a starting point, you will find a list of organisations below, that can help people get started in their new home.
Emmaus are a charity that help homeless people in a number of way, from places to stay to running social enterprises that allows someone to learn new skills. They have a number shops across England, Scotland and Wales, selling furniture, electrical items and clothing. New stock arrives daily and they can arrange local delivery for large items.
Vicar’s Relief Fund
The Vicar’s Relief Fund helps homeless and vulnerable housed people through small-sum, rapid response grants to prevent eviction or access accommodation. The average size of grant is £250, with grant requests usually processed within 1-3 days. Grants are given to individuals across the UK through frontline workers. They do provide grants to help set up a home.
Turn2us is a national charity helping people when time are hard. They have a benefits calculators and grants finder on their website, which could help you get access to some charitable funds.
The Eaton fund
The Eaton Fund can help women over the age of 18 who face financial hardship, within the UK.
The Eaton Fund can make one-off grants to help purchase specific items such as white goods, carpets or essential furniture. They also help disabled women by contributing towards an item that improves quality of life or independence.
Freecycle is a website that allows people to posts their requests or offers for free to their local group. It’s a great place to start if you’re looking for cardboard packing boxes, since people are often giving away the ones they used for their move. If you search and check daily, you could also bag yourself free sofa, table or chairs. Or you can post a request if you are looking for something specific.
British Heart Foundation
The British Heart Foundation have over 170 Furniture and Electrical stores across the UK selling sofas, white goods, dining sets, beds plus other items at very reasonable prices.
Facebook have a dedicated area to buy and sell your unwanted items, it’s called Marketplace. You can filter to find items in your local area and contact the sellers via Facebook.
Look for the Facebook icon on FB menu to see local second-hand items for sale.
Facebook Community groups
It’s also worth searching for local groups on Facebook to see if people are selling things second-hand. Or place a post requesting something, someone may come back to you offering to help.
Lots of people use Gumtree to sell their second-hand items. It’s worth taking a look and you can filter by location.
A final bit of advice is to always be careful when using selling websites, to avoid being scammed. Gumtree have provided some tips here, Staying Safe-in-For-Sale .
Written by Nicola Emmett for the Homes for Cathy blog.