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Zoe - a GMHF story

Zoe, 38, has been on the Greater Manchester Housing First programme since February 2020, having been referred by ‘A Bed Every Night’.

She has a long history of homelessness, substance use, criminality, mental and physical health issues, and other complex needs.

As is the case with an overwhelming number of women who are homeless, her vulnerabilities are closely linked to past trauma and she has been the victim of domestic violence.

Zoe had only ever had one long-term tenancy in her life, which had been terminated early due to arrears. Her chaotic lifestyle meant that she struggled to maintain even temporary accommodation.

It initially took five months to re-house Zoe into a suitable property after she joined GMHF.

This was due to a number of factors such as coronavirus restrictions, a delay in readying the property and a period of time where Zoe became unreachable. Despite these barriers, the team persisted as it was clear that despite her chaotic lifestyle, Zoe was keen to have her own place in her local area where she had friends and family nearby.

The support provided by Greater Manchester Housing First has been crucial in enabling Zoe to maintain her tenancy and to address some of the complex needs that have previously been a barrier to housing for her.

She has built up a trusting relationship with her keyworker Holly Eddleston through regular contact and although she sometimes doesn’t feel up to engaging, she knows that the support will still be there when she is ready to talk.

The support provided by GMHF has been wide ranging and has included helping her to furnish her new flat; getting all the documentation ready for her to open up a bank account in her name (she had previously had her benefits payments paid into other people’s accounts, which had often resulted in her being stung); arranging additional support with drug use from Turning Point; accompanying her to health appointments or to collect and manage her prescriptions.

Most importantly, Zoe knows that Holly is there for her if she just needs someone to talk to. Zoe enjoys these informal support sessions, be it going for a walk, listening to music or going for a chat at a local café.

Her tenancy hasn’t been without its difficulties and this caused her a lot of anxiety as she was worried that she would lose her flat. GMHF were present at meetings she had with her neighbourhood tenancy officer and with ongoing support she had addressed the issues and the complaints have stopped.

Zoe takes pride in her home and has enjoyed adding her own stamp on it. She enjoys interior design and loves to show off her decorating when Holly visits.

Her long-term goals are to be completely drug-free, improve her health and get back into contact with her children.

This can seem daunting to her at times but she knows that she has the support she needs from Greater Manchester Housing First and is taking small steps all the time to achieve these goals.


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