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Billy - A GMHF story

Billy is a 28-year-old man who became street homeless following a breakdown in his previous relationship.

He has a history of class A drug use, however when we first met him he was seeking help from Turning Point. He was, however, still using diazepam to cope with his anxiety.

Greater Manchester Housing First helped Billy to find a suitable property in an area of his choosing. He was supported in signing up to the property, applying for housing benefit and PIP payments, setting up direct debits and even ordering a new birth certificate, which was needed as part of the paperwork.

He was able to access a personalisation fund so he could buy furniture, carpets and other items to help him get settled and make his new house a home.

Billy takes real pride in his flat, keeping it tidy and getting it to look just the way he wants it.

There have been times where he has prioritised buying tablets over putting money on his electricity meter, but he recognises this is an issue and is still accessing the support he needs around addiction from Turning Point.

Billy was also keen to find ways to occupy his time as he knew that this would be good for his mental health. He used some of his personalisation fund to buy a bike as he found that bike riding was good for his wellbeing, and he was also supported to sign up to an art club.

Unfortunately, this was cancelled due to lockdown restrictions. He enjoys playing computer games so GMHF helped him to get a console so he could keep himself occupied during lockdown.

As part of Jigsaw Support’s Housing First offer, they took on two student Occupational Therapists on six week placements in order to assess the effectiveness of Occupational Therapy in helping Housing First participants.

Billy did a six-week course with them which he found extremely beneficial to his mental wellbeing, especially given the fact that one of his other outlets – regular chats with his local vicar – had been stopped due to COVID-19.

In the year since GMHF began working with Billy, he has shown great improvement. His new flat is somewhere he calls home, he is engaging well with Turning Point and is positive about his goal of coming off tablets and eventually getting a full time job.

Although he still needs a lot of support from his keyworker in some aspects of his life, he knows that they are always there for him when he needs them and is determined to grow his self-confidence and independence.


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