The Covid pandemic has been devastating in all sorts of ways. Sadly, many people have lost their livelihoods due to health, economic and social effects, leaving thousands homeless, with many more to come. It is estimated by the charity Joseph Rowntree that up to one million people could eventually lose their homes due to the pandemic.
At Johnnie Johnson Housing, we are proud that we have been able to help some of those people who have found themselves without a roof over their heads during the pandemic.
One resident, who we will call Mr Parker to protect his identity, came to us in 2020 after the pandemic rendered him unable to work. He did not qualify for the furlough scheme and found himself falling short on his rent payments. Finally, he was evicted from his home – a devastating blow.
Mr Parker was born and grew up in Northumbria but had moved away for work years before the pandemic. He decided it was time to return to the North and applied for housing with us in his former local area.
Soon after applying, we were delighted to be able to offer him a vacant flat in one of our independent living communities. Mr Parker was thrilled and accepted immediately.
Once arriving at his new home, Mr Parker was surprised to see a familiar face on the wall. He recalled the moment he saw a photo of the founder of Johnnie Johnson Housing on the entrance to his new home: “I was in awe. There, on the wall, was a picture of Johnnie Johnson and Douglas Bader. It was the Johnnie Johnson I’d heard about from my grandpa.”
Mr Parker explained that his grandfather was a Squadron Leader who worked in a bookshop after the war and would give his grandson books written by former pilots, including Johnnie Johnson and Douglas Bader, who was also a national war hero and one of the original board members of Johnnie Johnson Housing.
Mr Parker was thrilled to be back home in Northumbria and to be living in a home he could afford. Finding out that his new home had ties to his ex-Armed Forces grandfather was a happy moment and one that has made living in a Johnnie Johnson Housing property even more special.