When Paul first heard about the GM Housing First pilot, he said it sounded like a dream come true.
But after so many false dawns, he was naturally sceptical.
He said: “I’d been homeless for years and had been through all the different services and the worst of the B&Bs and other temporary accommodation.
“I was told about Housing First and it sounded amazing, like a dream come true.
I questioned whether they’d be able to keep their promises at first or whether it would end up like other services I’d accessed before where they don’t follow up on anything. But straight away, they came up trumps.”
Paul was able to get a viewing quite quickly and was so impressed with the quality of the property he signed up straight away as he felt it was somewhere he could settle.
“I didn’t have to jump through any hoops and I just found they had a totally different mindset to other services in that way,” he said.
His Housing First worker, Liz, was able to get him the support and was his consistent contact – a vital component when the global pandemic forced the country into lockdown.
Paul added: “During lockdown I was struggling with boredom and isolation. I did think about using again but haven’t.
“What helped was Liz checking in on me every day. My legs were very bad last year, I was walking with crutches so Liz being able to help with picking up shopping and medication was a great help.
“I normally take a lot of time deciding whether I can trust someone and feel OK opening up to them. I’ve found a lot of other services hard work to be honest with you.
"I’ve felt they’ve not done anything which is important to me, that things are all on their terms and that is just a job to them and about keeping their funding.
"Without the consistency of support which I’ve got now with Liz I don’t know where I’d be. I’ve always ended up giving in in the past, and going back to using.
“Housing First have done a lot for me and now I’ve been abstinent for months now and I’m back in my son’s life and on good terms with my ex-partner.
“I’m hoping one day I can help other people going through the same things I’ve been through. It feels brilliant! I’m now back in touch with my family and getting on with my life. I
got my life back in so many ways.
“My message to people at the start of their journey with Housing First would be to help Housing First to help you - you can do this!”