Finding the perfect home for Spencer
11 January 2024
Living in your own space is something many of us take for granted. The ability to do what you want when you want is something that can’t be underestimated. However, when you have autism, the ability to live independently can be a challenge for the person and their extended family. One such case is that of our Customer Spencer and his family. Thankfully, our Acquisitions Team (a taskforce dedicated to acquiring products, services, and resources for our Communities) was on hand to find the perfect home.
When our Acquisitions Coordinator, Amanda Wrenn, was first approached by Spencer’s mum, Kimberly, she knew that this was a case Places for People could help with.
“Spencer’s case was quite unusual, as we typically have Customers referred to our Acquisitions team by third parties, like their local council. But Kimberly contacted us directly.
“Spencer is 22 years old and has never lived away from the family home, as his autism has made it hard for him to live independently. However, like many of the families we help, Kimberly and the rest of the family were finding it more and more difficult to focus on other household members because of Spencer’s additional needs.
Because Kimberly had approached Places for People independently rather than through a referral, Amanda and her team had to do a little more work than their typical case to support the family. Before they could even start looking at potential homes for Spencer, they had to approach Chester East Council and funders to appeal for permission to help.
Thankfully, the appeal was approved, and the hard work began.
"Before looking at potential properties, the family first had to ensure the relevant commissioners had agreed to fund the level of support Spencer needed and the actual requirements of his new home.
"It was clear from the get go that Spencer needed 24 hour care. However, finding a provider that understood and facilitated his specific needs was a little more challenging. Spencer's previous carer had sadly passed away not long before our search, which had caused a huge upset to Spencer and his routine. Before their passing, Spencer had enjoyed an active lifestyle, exploring the outdoors with his carer, so finding a new provider who enjoyed the same things was important.
"I made some calls and facilitated the family to meet three care providers we work closely with. After careful consideration, Kimberly chose Sugarman Health and Wellbeing Care Provider.
With the care provider in place, it was time to find Spencer's new home.
"When searching for the perfect home, the family had given some key requirements. Firstly, the property needed to be close to the family home. Like many people with autism, Spencer has an extremely close bond with his family, so they needed to be close by if he ever needed their help or support. Secondly, it needed to have a decent size garden. Spencer loves the outdoors and has lots of hobbies like compost making, which require ample outdoor space.
We looked at three or four properties before hitting the jackpot. The final property we looked at ticked all the boxes for Spencer. It was a 7 minutes walk from the family home and had the outdoor space that was so important to him. Now, the price was a little bit over what we originally were aiming for, but with some haggling, we were able to bring the home in on budget.
Spencer's new home also needed minimal renovations to bring it up to his specific needs. We replaced the windows, laid new carpet, and painted. The property also came with a bath that many of our Customers request to be removed in favour of a more accessible wet room, but Spencer loves to take baths – so we kept it in."
Months later, Spencer has settled into his new home well. So much so that he's leading a much more independent life than the family could imagine.
"I keep in touch with the family. Kimberly tells me Spencer has settled into his new home so well .- it's his safe and happy place. He actually prefers his own space to the family home now, which is such great news! It's fantastic to hear he's living a much more independent life”
The wonderful thing about Amanda and her team's work is that it doesn't just positively affect the care receiver but their family too. It's easy to overlook the needs of the wider family unit when you have a member with additional needs. The support that our Acquisitions team provides not only supports Customers with vulnerabilities to be more present in our Communities and lead more independent lives, but it also allows their families the space and rest they need to continue to show up.
"As a family, it has given us the liberty to focus on his younger brother, who can now have friends over to play. As a mother, I have the time to give him, which he has waited patiently for. Places for People have saved our family," explained Kimberly.
Spencer's story exemplifies our 'do the right thing, always' People Promise. Amanda and her team's dedication to Spencer's individual needs and ability to tailor their search accordingly is a testament to the Acquisition team's fantastic work. Their work not only does the right thing for our direct Customers but also helps their families and the Community at large.