Derby Homes has been managing Milestone House on behalf of Derby City Council since December 2013. The building, in the heart of Derby city centre, provides support and temporary accommodation for single homeless people.

Lennie Miller, Derby Homes Manager, reveals more.

Milestone House is a 43 bed accommodation managed by Derby Homes for the Council. It offers a bed for anyone aged 18 and over, without dependent children. We accommodate people with a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances – from those who have lost their jobs and been made homeless, to people who have been on the streets for years with severe mental health, drug or alcohol issues.

Our aim is that residents should stay with us for 28 days, but they can often be here longer. Our staff try and help people to find suitable, permanent accommodation as quickly as possible, but residents may have to wait for somewhere to become available. When that happens, they are always welcome to stay longer.

The Milestone team is made up of support workers of all different types. Residents can register with a local doctor, who visits three times a week. For many of our residents, who may have previously been living on the streets, this is a vital resource that they would struggle to access anywhere else. We also have access to a Community Psychiatric Nurse, who specialises in homelessness, and a member of the Aquarius Substance Misuse Team.

“Our main goal is for residents to be self-reliant.”

Upon arrival, residents meet with a support worker and an action plan is put together. Our aim is to work with residents, to make sure when they leave us, they’re ready to handle the responsibilities that come with having their own tenancy.

The Kitchen at Milestone House
The Kitchen at Milestone House

Whilst at Milestone, residents are responsible for buying and cooking their own food, washing their clothes and taking care of their own possessions. Staff are there to offer support where needed, but our main goal is for residents to be self-reliant. That can sometimes be challenging – many people come to us with extremely chaotic lives, or multiple complex needs.

The staff do their best to give the right kind of support to everyone, but unfortunately we do see people moving from Milestone, to the streets, and back again. Despite this, everyone here is passionate about what they do, and we all find it incredibly rewarding to know that we’re helping some really vulnerable Derby residents.

Residents’ Story

Steve is a resident of Milestone House, and has lived here since July. Prior to coming here, he was a registered nurse, who worked in various hospitals for 27 years. After being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, he took time off work, but returned before he probably should have. Coming back to work with arthritis was extremely difficult, and he ended up losing his job.

“I never thought this could happen to me.”

Steve was left trying to manage the rent on a privately-rented, three bedroomed home with no income. Now in financial difficulty, he was unable to cover the cost of his rent. His landlord was sympathetic and agreed to make up the shortfall initially, but after two months she was unable to afford to keep helping him, and took him to court to have him evicted.

View from the window at Milestone House
View from the window at Milestone House

Steve was evicted from his home, and after spending a night in a hostel, was referred to Milestone. He has been there now since June. Things are now looking up – Derby Homes have found him a flat in Spondon, and he’s due to move in as soon as the current tenant leaves. Whilst he’s grateful for the support he’s received at Milestone, he says he’s looking forward to moving back into his own home. We wish Steve all the best for the future.