The UK's housing crisis has been exposed through an Elmbridge man's journey from housing to homelessness.

Nik Saur, 53, was forced to live out of his van after support from local authorities and housing charities failed to find him a place to stay.

Back in July, when the person providing him lodging couldn't manage to support him any longer, Nik immediately put in an application for housing with Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC).

EBC directed him towards the SEARCH moves platform, where applicants who need social housing can 'bid' on available spaces advertised through a specially designed website.

Yet attempt after attempt to bid on social housing through SEARCH moves failed to find Nik some accommodation, despite his urgent need for a safe place to stay.

The Elmbridge man suffers from several health conditions including a blocked artery in his leg and carpal tunnel syndrome.

He is also a daily carer for his elderly mother in Walton.

"I'm 100 per cent trying to help myself, I didn't expect anyone else to do things for me," Nik told the Comet.

"I've done everything I could with the Council — taking in paper work, photo ID, you name it.

"After 56 days of difficulties I'm then relying on housing agencies," he said.

Indeed, EBC conceded they had stopped providing direct assistance to Nik early in September but said the Council could continue to offer him guidance going forward.

In response to a query from the Comet, EBC confirmed they had assisted Nik in July and August.

An EBC spokesperson said:

"We made referrals to two local housing providers that accommodate single people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, but neither resulted in Mr Saur being offered accommodation.

"We have had no further contact with Mr Saur since August and our duties to prevent homelessness ended on 3 September.

"We are satisfied that we dealt with his case properly and in accordance with the law."

As both Nik and EBC pointed out, the Council referred him to two different housing charities — Rent Start in Elmbridge and Transform Housing in Leatherhead.

Both specialise in finding accommodation for people who most need it.

Ultimately, this only yielded more frustration in his search for a secure place to stay.

The Comet spoke with Rent Start's CEO Helen Watson about the case.

While she declined to comment on the specifics, Ms Watson did highlight several of the issues brought to light by Nik's predicament.

"I would always say we try not to turn anyone away," she said.

"Because London has become so expensive, the borders around it like Surrey within that M25 ring have seen a growth in their rough sleepers as well.

"What we've done is create an outreach team that goes and supports rough sleepers but obviously that requires engagement."

One of the ways Rent Start support the homeless is enrolling them on new courses.

After initial difficulties Nik now to start a photography course in January with the charity's help.

That alone is not enough to help him get off the streets, however.

Neither, as it turned out, was the support offered by Transform Housing.

"I'm in their system but no one contacted me until I went to one of their houses," Nik said.

Nik claimed he was made aware of a vacancy at a Transform hostel in Hersham, but after attending early one morning the staff refused him entry.

Responding to a request from the Comet, a spokesperson for Transform Housing confirmed that Nik had attended their hostel in Hersham after EBC referred him.

However they disputed Nik's version of events, saying they had no vacancies at the time and adding that the encounter had been confrontational.

Steve Moore, Transform's Area Manager, offered the following statement:

"We help people with a range of personal issues and frequently manage to assist them to move on with their lives.

"We cannot consider supporting any individual with whom we are unable to engage at a mere conversational level.

"We would reconsider an application from Mr Saur if he was referred by Elmbridge Borough Council in the future and we had some evidence of an improved ability to engage with our service."

Weeks later, as December fast approaches and the colder temperatures descend, Nik still finds himself homeless.

Despite his current situation, he seemed upbeat for the most part when he spoke with the Comet.

Aside from working at expanding his skill set and finding himself a place to stay, Nik also submitted a unique idea he had for a children's book to several publishing agents.

He is currently awaiting their responses.

"I write, read, do a bit of painting, play guitar, and have an allotment.

"I can't sit still and am always doing something when I'm not looking after my Mum.

"I'm not greedy, I just think need a little bit of help at the moment," he said.