Great Places encourages open and honest working to improve circumstances
Building relationships and trust are vital when it comes to supporting the complex issues faced by the long-term homelessness and ensuring successful outcomes. Mike’s* story is no exception.
When GM Homes Partnership delivery partner, Great Places, met Mike, he had been homeless for 17 years, with health issues and a history of regular drug use. His poor health made him extremely vulnerable and the victim of physical abuse and financial exploitation. Despite numerous attempts to support him, Mike had been reluctant to engage with local service. Mike had felt support workers had been far too interested in getting him off the streets, as opposed to getting to know him to develop a support plan tailored to find a way out of his current situation.
The caseworker knew that patience and time was needed if they were to make any progress. They spent three months talking to Mike on the streets in order to build a relationship to a point where they could look to approach the subject of developing a support plan.
Mike’s vulnerable position made it clear that only by working with a range of partners would they be able to get the right support in place, free from the type of exploitation and abuse he had experienced on the streets. The caseworker pulled together partners from a range of agencies who discussed available housing options and identified supported housing that would provide Mike with the best chance of sustainable tenancy.
Encouraging Mike to consider housing options such as supported housing initially as a transition was a long process which required patience and understanding. However, thanks to the open and honest relationship the caseworker had built with him, Great Places were able to have the conversations needed to help Mike come to the conclusion that this would be the best option.
Working with participants to make the right choices for them has been crucial to the success of the SIB programme. Mike’s story shows you can’t force a service on a person. Only by getting to know the person can you work with them to ensure a successful result. The support given by the GM Homes Partnership has seen Mike find a new home, access ongoing support and gain freedom from the verbal and physical abuse he’d experienced all to often on the streets.
*Not Mike's real name
Photo Credit - Craig Barker