"I know with the support of HARP I will be fine" - Clive's story


57-year-old Clive* suffers with arthritis, epilepsy and hypertension but, before finding HARP, he spent five years living in a boatshed with no heating or running water.


Born and bred in Leigh-on-Sea, Clive has worked on boats since he was 14 years old.


Clive moved into the boatshed after his parents had died and he’d had to move out of their home, where he had been living as his mother’s main carer.


With nowhere else to go, he had been offered the boatshed as accommodation in exchange for work in the boatyard.


“Living in the boatshed was hard,” said Clive. “The toughest thing was the lack of facilities - I didn’t have anything to cook on.”


Staying in the boatshed kept Clive off the streets, but the cold and damp took its toll on his health and eventually the landlord decided to sell. That’s when Clive came to HARP.


When the landlord decided to sell the boatshed and Clive faced being homeless once again, his friends helped him to complete a homelessness application with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and we were able to provide him with a room at HARP.


Clive soon settled into his accommodation at HARP, forming good working relationships with the staff and stopping by the office regularly to have a chat.

Fishing boats during low tide at Leigh-on-Sea
Fishing boats during low tide at Leigh-on-Sea**

Clive’s life has revolved around working on the boats and so he continued volunteering while he stayed with HARP. He walked to Leigh-on-Sea from his HARP accommodation in Westcliff to support a Salvage team working on the shipwreck of The London.


“The staff have all been great and the main thing has been knowing that they are there if I need them,” said Clive. “I know that if there’s a problem I can talk to staff and get it sorted.”


After a lifetime working on boats, Clive is not used to using computers, but the HARP team helped Clive to search for properties online and bid on suitable Council accommodation.


A year after arriving at HARP, Clive has finally found his new home and has been able to move safely despite lockdown restrictions.


HARP staff helped him to set up his utilities and make sure his Universal Credit is up to date so his rent can be paid, as well as applying for an Essential Living Fund from the Council so he can furnish his new home.


Clive’s friends from the boatyard helped him to move into his new home safely.


“It’s the first time I’ve had my own tenancy so I’m a bit worried but I know with the support of HARP I will be fine,” said Clive. “I’m happy with my new home and I just want to get myself sorted.”


The HARP team will continue to provide support to Clive for as long as he needs to help him sustain his new tenancy. This is part of the service provided by our Intensive Support Team, which aims to ensure that people supported by HARP get the support they need to stay off the streets once they are in accommodation.


* A photo of a model has been used for privacy reasons.

** Photo of fishing boats by Garry Knight via Flickr

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HARP is a registered charity, number: 1098126

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Registered office: HARP, 4th Floor, Dencora Court, Tylers Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 2BB. Phone: 01702 615000 

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