Real Life Story: Overcoming addiction and homelessness, and finding housing through BHT’s Phase One Project

Becs was referred to the service in April 2013 losing her accommodation. She had previously had her own independent tenancies but these had broken down due to rent arrears issues which had led to her entering a negative cycle and her engagement with support services had decreased.

Her physical health was also poor due to her long-term alcohol and drug addiction which had also impacted her psychological well-being as she had been struggling with establishing positive sleep patterns causing her to feel depressed.

When she came to Phase One she wanted to work towards her own independent accommodation again and to re-establish contact with her son. Although she had previously struggled with engaging with a keyworker and external services she accepted that this could be a fresh start for her to make positive goal orientated changes to achieve her overall aspirations.  She was offered a place at the service and moved in later that month.

Due to the difficulties that Becs had experienced in forming a positive relationship with her previous keyworkers, the early work focused on establishing a positive working relationship which she led and was outcomes focused so that she could acknowledge positive change. As the relationship developed with her keyworker, her substance use issues stabilised and she re-engaged with treatment from Pavilions (a local drug and alcohol service).

With her substance use issues stabilised, Becs was able to begin to focus on her long-term goal of meeting the criteria for accommodation and she began to engage with in-house activities to build structure and routine into her day which led to an improvement in her mental well-being.

She continued to make steady progress, and she continued to reduce her drug and alcohol use to a maintenance level.  She applied successfully for a place in the projects pre-tenancy flat (the last step before being supported to apply for a tenancy).  This created another point of achievement for the client on her journey through the service.

Once she had settled in to living in this more independent setting, the focus of the support moved towards establishing further daily structure, reducing her usage to a point where she was free from illicit substance use, and was developing and brushing up on her life skills.

At the 5 month point in her stay in the pre-tenancy flat, Becs went on the projects camping trip which was held in the summer of 2016. This acted as a further positive catalyst for her.  She found the experience really useful in helping her to begin to think about a life outside of the hostel and what she needed to do next to access independent accommodation.

On her return to the project she applied to work at a local charity shop which proved to be so successful that she now supports the manager in the running of the shop which has in turn helped to keep her focused and illicit drug free.

At the point that she had been clean of illicit substances for over three months she was supported in her application for housing.  She has recently been informed that she has been successful and is now awaiting confirmation of an offer of a home of her own.


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