Updated: Feb 3
From a cycle of self-destruction to an even keel, Michael Murphy’s life has come full circle.
And he’s honest about what would have happened had it not been for the work of Housing First. He said: “Housing First saved my life; it’s as simple as that.”
From a steady home with a wife and children, a family break-up turned life on its head and led to more than a decade on the streets of Greater Manchester.
He lost his home and contact with his children and ended up on the streets of Tameside and spent time in and out of temporary accommodation – including A Bed Every Night (ABEN).
He was a well-known character in his home town but this became a negative as Michael turned to drink. And although he could have periods of abstinence, he would always return to alcohol and he was caught in a destructive cycle that would often leave him homeless.
Michael, 59, was in private accommodation with support prior to being introduced to GMHF where his binge drinking would see him being out and uncontactable for as long as 72 hours in some instances, rough sleeping at times, and having to be helped home by the police or members of the public.
But once he began to engage with his Housing First Worker Lynda Guy, she was able to get him into his own home in February 2020, providing support in line with the principles of Housing First.
And since February, he as become something of a model tenant at the sheltered scheme he is living in.
There have been no ASB issues and he is engaging well with his key worker and the support that is available, both with his tenancy and his emotional and personal wellbeing to help him control his addiction.
And as he is in control of his recovery, Michael has chosen the support and how he engages with it; and he is making huge progress being alcohol-free for 10 months.
His diet has improved massively and he has choice over the meals he eats and when he eats them.
He keeps an immaculate home and has paid for his own furniture to get things just as he wants and has an excellent relationship with his scheme manager and has real prospects for the future to rebuild his relationship with his children and become an active member of the community.
He said: “I’ve been very lucky. Had Housing First not been available to me, I would be dead, with the way I was living. Another bad winter on a bench and I don’t think I would be here.
“It’s given me another chance and I’m determined to make the most of it.
“I can’t say enough good things about Housing First. It’s saved my life and I want to thank Lynda and the support staff I work with.”