One of my clients, Martin, has been an entrenched rough sleeper for approximately 12 years. Since working with him (for the last 7 months) he has managed brief stays in two hostels, one of which evicted him as they classed him as too “high risk” due to his mental health problems. Martin is an alcoholic and he regularly self harms and overdoses.
We managed to secure him some emergency accommodation which he had been in for about 8 weeks when he was offered a 1 bedroom flat by the Council. The property and the area it was in was exactly what Martin had specified he wanted. We went to view the property and Martin agreed to take it on. However, he was unable to attend the sign up appointment as he was in hospital. I rearranged another appointment but, again, due to the chaotic nature of his life, Martin was unable to attend. This meant that the Council discharged their duty of care and he was asked to leave his emergency accommodation. Martin was extremely upset by this as he had only just begun to feel settled in this accommodation. He really struggles to put roots down and finds it very difficult to make friends. Martin has problems articulating himself and tends to avoid engaging with services, so by advocating for him and working with the Council and the private landlord which owned the emergency accommodation Martin was in, we have secured him a 6 month assured shorthold tenancy which he signed up for today.
This is a real achievement for him, he told me he has never had anywhere of his own and he is very motivated to ensure nothing happens to jeopardise his tenancy. I’m meeting him tomorrow to help him sort his benefits out and he has even talked about working on the garden during the summer and decorating the property, bit by bit, in time for Christmas. This is the first time I have heard Martin talk about long term plans; in the past he hasn’t been able to see further than his day to day struggles. I will continue working closely with Martin and monitor his progress, I am hoping that his mental health will begin to improve now he has somewhere of his own which he feels safe and he knows he won’t be moved on in a few days or weeks.
Fiona, Support Worker