At the end of a difficult year for so many reasons, Lisa’s story will hopefully fill you with festive cheer.
Now looking forward to a Christmas in a safe and secure home, with a group of good friends and her GMHF Worker Cheryl Marney as support, she has real hope for a better future.
But that hasn’t always been the case for Lisa, 46, after some very difficult and chaotic years.
She’s had a number of jobs in the past working for a bakery, as a ballroom dancer and as a hostess on the railways amongst other things before her life turned upside down.
Her past involves an addiction to alcohol and some abusive relationships which led to her into rough sleeping and bouncing in and out of temporary accommodation including A Bed Every Night (ABEN).
But it was her referral to Greater Manchester Housing First in September that helped her to start on the path to a better life.
Lisa and her HF Worker Cheryl have worked closely together to get things back on track.
Firstly, she was able to ensure her benefits were set up correctly and she could gain access to her journal again.
The pair worked on setting up her Salford Home Search account, so she could bid on properties. She subsequently found a flat she loved, bid on, won and accepted.
As the country was once again in lockdown, Cheryl was able to arrange for furniture, which was being stored for Lisa, to be safely delivered and she also worked with the Housing Officer and Rough Sleepers Worker to ensure she wouldn’t be in debt once she left ABEN.
Cheryl also helped her tend to her tenancy needs and set up her utilities once she was able to safely move in as well access funds to get the white goods she needed.
And things have changed dramatically since she has moved into her new home. She has been able to distance herself from the negative influences of the past and has been able to move on from areas of her life she doesn’t want to revisit.
And her new home has also given her the chance to explore her creative side.
She has turned her hand to poetry (see the pictures in the gallery below) and upcycling discarded furniture to bring them back into use.
She’s also hoping to put her story into a book in the future so that she can help others.
She said she would like to dance again, but due to her physical health issues she has changed her creative outlet into something she can manage.
Cheryl is helping Lisa access online services as Lisa struggles with technology so she is to be given a tablet which will help her with her artistic endeavours and also cope with her anxiety and depression.
Lisa is engaging well with her support network, has made friends with her neighbours, is exploring her new surroundings and is looking forward to the New Year with a renewed hope.
She said: “For the first time in a long time, I am really looking forward to the future.
“Cheryl and the Housing First people have transformed my life completely and I’m so looking forward to Christmas.
“I’m so grateful to Cheryl, GM Housing First and all the people have been so kind to me to help me to get to this point.
“I’m hoping to get involved in the co-production panel so I can help other people who are in the same situation I was.
“GM Housing First has got my life into a better place and I’ll forever be grateful.”