By REE MELODY
Over the past 6 months I have been working hard to help support one guy living on the street to get housed. Yesterday, 25th February, he moved into supported accommodation 🙂
The process has been long, frustrating and a complete joke in all honesty. Even one worker within the services admitted that this should have been sorted out months ago.
The bureaucratic process took all of 2 and a half months just to recognise him to be in priority need because of his health issues.
I stand strong with the belief that ALL people living on the street are in priority need and needing the basic right of a home. As the judge stated at the Supreme Court last May with regard to the vulnerability assessment process:
“All homeless people should now be compared with an ‘ordinary person who is at risk of becoming homeless”
Being homeless has a significant detrimental impact on everyone’s wellbeing, making all people vulnerable, therefore anyone who is homeless should be deemed a priority!
He was first moved into emergency accomodation last December. A small, smelly, dirty room without any bedding owned by Baron Homes. One of the workers of a homelessness service has since said they would not move a member of their own family in there. There was no support to help him with the transition after living on the street on and off for around 27 years. (he did get encouragement from his friends living on the street telling him to go indoors though!!) He was not allowed any visitors so he felt isolated and began to drink more and soon returned back to the streets.
This happened after he lost his key card and didn’t get the support he needed by his keyworker at the time to support him getting a new one. At the same time he was arrested for begging and had bail conditions which prevented easy access along the main road to his emergency room.
A couple of days later he was beaten up.
A friend took him out of town to be safe and rest up. I truly believe his life was seriously at risk as that week escalated from bad to worse because he didn’t have access to his emergency room, although that wasn’t even suitable for his needs, and he was lacking the support he very much needed at the time.
The process up to this point had taken many texts, phonecalls, visits to doctors, nurses, support centers, and the council. Along with the support to help keep appointments, filling out forms, acting as an advocate at times and putting pressure on his key worker. Their workload was apparently extremely high and they were struggling to offer him the full support which he needed. It was concerning how this team didn’t seem to be flagging up that they were struggling. It is a serious threat to vulnerable people’s wellbeing, even their lives.
He came back to town a few weeks later after much needed rest and found himself with a new keyworker and his emergency room was still available. He went to meet the landlord to get a new key card but the landlord never turned up. So understandably in his situation, he blew it out. He felt let down by the continued lack of support. He expressed that the accommodation wasn’t right for him anyway. His new keyworker with more ‘encouragement’ from myself, had a few meetings and managed to get him on the waiting list for more suitable supported accomodation which he now has. He is feeling positive about it now and it sounds like they will be able to offer him the balance of support and freedom which he needs.
There is no doubt that without my determination, drive and pressure and his willingness to work with that,fuelled by his own genuine concerns for his wellbeing, he would still be living on the street and wouldn’t be where he is now. It has flagged up how the outreach team at St. Mungo’s, although they are good people and work hard and are ‘doing their best’ are overloaded and unable to give the full support which is needed by many individuals. The council’s process of who they will see as in ‘priority’ need is inhumane and unfair and takes too much time whilst leaving vulnerable people with serious issues left vulnerable on the streets.
#NoMoreDeathsOnOurStreets #PeopleB4Profit #Right2Shelter