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Derek - a GMHF story

Derek was 30 when he decided he needed to break the cycle of prison, addiction and homelessness.

He’d come to a point in his life where he knew he had to make a change and he was referred into GM Housing First via the Rough Sleepers Team.

At that time, he didn’t feel ready to have his own property as he was feeling unstable, addicted to substances and couldn’t plan past his next step.

He was in and out of prison but eventually decided that it was time to settle down and make a positive life for himself.

The situation was complicated for Derek as he was caught in the cycle of homelessness, substance misuse, mistrust of services, low self-esteem, health concerns and a negative cycle of prison and rough sleeping.

He wasn’t engaging with statutory services but realised that the cycle would continue if he didn’t change something in his life.

And that’s where GM Housing First came into its own. With its person-centred model, Derek’s worker was able to provide reliable, wrap-around support that would be led by Derek and would be reactive to his needs.

This, along with the support from other agencies and the person’s want to succeed, allowed him to be able to sign up to his own tenancy. He is now on the way to being substance-free, has his health in check but admits to small bumps along the way.

These bumps are all part of change and adapting to new environments but each success is a victory in our eyes. We can all relate to these minor challenges but some are more challenging than others when living with trauma and negative experiences.

Housing First values the person’s identity, ownership and sense of responsibility and this is why, together, we are making a difference.


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