Greater Manchester Housing First is changing lives every day.
Here, we tell Jake’s story of how GM Housing First has helped turn his life around.
Jake had found himself in a deep hole – but thanks to the intervention of Greater Manchester Housing First he’s now on a solid footing.
Suffering the after effects of a chaotic past, which included a history of offending, he had battled depression and other mental health issues and was living in temporary accommodation when he was referred to GMHF.
He presented with substance misuse issues including using cocaine and cannabis on a daily basis. This caused issues around finances as he owed drug dealers money and had no money for food and to pay his utilities.
His worker was able to engage with him, build a relationship and explain what the Housing First ethos was and how he would be in control of where he lived and how he engaged with support.
Jake had two dogs, which he considered as his family, and he wouldn’t go anywhere without them. Thankfully, we were able to accommodate him and his dogs when he was offered his own home thanks to great partnership work with the housing association.
This is an issue the pilot is looking to address as having pets should not be a barrier to housing and, in fact, greatly helps improve the chances of the tenancy being successful in the long-term.
Through flexible working and ensuring daily contact within the first week of his move, Jake and his worker put a plan of action in place to help him turn his house into a home, which included setting up his benefits and bill payments as well as getting his white goods organised and fitted to allow him to live independently.
He also used some of his personalisation fund so he could decorate his home just the way he wanted it.
Having been able to move away from the problem area, having his own space and being able to control his environment has helped to improve his situation no end.
He has turned his back on drugs, forged good relationships with his neighbours and he and his dogs are much happier.
He is engaging very well with his local support services and is learning new skills such as woodwork, bike repairs and art classes and is making new friends in the process.
He has also been extremely proactive and is working to complete his CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) qualification as he has been offered work once he completes and passes the course.
And with our support he is also completing English and maths courses locally, and Revision is also looking at apprenticeships for joinery as this is something he has always aspired to.
In a relatively short space of time, Jake has turned his life around thanks to the help and support of Greater Manchester Housing First and its incredible staff.
He said: “GM Housing First is helping me to sort my life out. I have got an amazing support worker who tries to help me as much as possible or put me on the right path. I have never met lifesavers like them, they really helped me get back on my feet.”
Jake knows that we are there when we need him and he now has real prospects of a job and a healthy and happy future - more proof that the Greater Manchester Housing First pilot is changing lives and that together, we are making a difference.