When Greater Manchester Housing First met Pete (not his real name), he was living in temporary accommodation has previously lived rough for some time in and around Tameside, either sleeping in parks, sofa surfing, or sharing a tent with his mate.
Pete was referred to us by probation, who had facilitated his temporary accommodation. He had a history of offending, mainly connected to his behaviour whilst under the influence of alcohol.
He engaged well from the start and was always welcoming and happy to see his keyworker. Alcohol still played a significant part in the daily routine so we would meet early for a walk and a coffee while discussing his housing and support needs. We established that he wanted a single bed flat in Tameside.
Pete had underlying health issues which unfortunately deteriorated and he was admitted to hospital. Over the next few months, we worked with his medical team, social services and mental health workers while he was in and out of hospital and rehab.
This included a stint in a psychiatric unit after he was sectioned under the mental health act.
Eventually, his physical and mental health improved enough for him to move into a new tenancy.
Although he was apprehensive at first, we supported him every step of the way with the move, helping him to procure furniture and kitchen goods for his flat.
Pete, GMHF and his therapist worked closely together to ensure that he was supported while he adjusted to living alone. He was experiencing extreme anxiety and felt unable to face shopping or venturing out into the community.
GMHF supported him with his weekly shop for the first month while working with his therapist to help him take steps towards doing his own shopping. We also provided him with information about nutrition, meal planning and fitness.
Eventually, he agreed to take responsibility for planning his menu and preparing a list and agreed to take a short walk with GMHF workers.
Gradually as he worked into a routine he became more confident to be out of the house and the big day came when he agreed to go to the local corner shop with his worker.
On that day, he answered the door with a list in his hand with a tentative smile he asked, ‘Will you come to Morrisons with me instead?’.
Pete and his GHMF worker now have regular Friday morning appointment to meet at Morrisons and walk around together collecting the items on his list. His mood has improved, and he is coping better with his anxiety. He has also drastically cut down on alcohol.
He even asked if we could get him a fridge-freezer so he could do a big shop and get into cooking again instead of always buying ready-meals.
His GMHF worker asked permission to write his story, and he agreed, as long as his name was changed. He laughed as he suggested the title of his story should be ‘From tent to Morrisons trolley’.