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New hard-hitting documentary film tells the hidden stories of how people’s lives are changed by having a secure and stable home

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Gemma

A couple made temporarily homeless tell the moving story of how they were reunited in a new home provided by a national housing association in an emotional 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”.

Pete and Suzanne’s story is one of several documented in a film by Accent Housing that tells the hidden accounts of people who have been through hardship but whose lives have been transformed due to having a secure and stable home.

The one-hour documentary film “So Far” highlights the stories of several of its customers. Each is told through interviews between Accent’s housing officers and customer 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 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.

Accent Housing’s Chief Executive Paul Dolan said: “We know that social housing can be misunderstood, through the filming of So Far we want to help change perceptions.
“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.

“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.”

Paul added: “Everyone’s journey is different, but we all need a place we can call home. At Accent we help people stay in their homes, preventing homelessness is our priority.
“We work to keep families together and our work helps transform the lives of people at any stage of their journey. This is something we are incredibly proud of.”

The film, which was originally shot to capture and roll out the housing association’s corporate strategy to its 500 staff, is made up of a series of 13 mini-episodes featuring customers personal stories and is being given wider exposure to celebrate the work of housing associations.

Accent Housing is working to improve people’s lives, they do so by providing people with high quality and affordable homes. The homes and services provided support residents and communities to realise their aspirations for better living.

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