Keith's extraordinary story
Keith is one of the 400 “entrenched” rough sleepers who have benefited so far from the GM Homes Partnership pledge to prevent and relieve homelessness in Manchester.
We made contact with Keith, 43, shortly before he was viciously attacked and ended up spending six months in hospital after being left for dead at the start of 2018. He had been engaged with the Salford rough sleeper team and was referred to GM Homes Partnership from there.
Through our collaborative work with our partners and thanks to funding provided by two of Greater Manchester’s largest housing providers, One Manchester and Trafford Housing Trust, we were able to offer him the support he needed to leave behind his life on the streets.
“I’d lost all of my family, that’s how I ended up on the streets. They all passed away and from there I just ended up on the streets. The most difficult thing was just finding somewhere to sleep, and just hoping that you weren’t going to get robbed that night”, Keith told us.
But he went on to explain that since this time and thanks to his new home he has been able to move forward with his life:
“That’s all behind me now, I don’t have to look at going back to that way of living any more. Shelter got in contact with me, and from there we worked together. My case worker, Paula, got hold of me before I ended up in hospital, where I’d ended up spending six months.
“I had a bleed to the brain, and to this day I still don’t really know what happened. Paula really helped me out, she’s done miracles. She got me out of the street life and got me settled in a home.
“When I was in the hospital I had already decided, I thought ‘I need rehab to get myself off the drugs and alcohol and get clean’, and from there I ended up in the Thomas Project”.
The Thomas Project is a North West based charity that takes people from within prison or hospital and helps them to detox whilst providing residential rehabilitation.
“From there I stayed there for a couple of weeks and then Paula got me this place”, says Keith as he gestures around his newly self-decorated one-bedroom apartment. “It felt a bit weird to be honest. I think I didn’t know how to accept it properly, but now that I’ve settled in, I’m loving it.
“I’ve been doing the decorating, bits of it myself, and bits with help from one of my friends who comes around.”
As part of the ongoing support provided through SIB, funds are made available to the participants for things like food and basic home decoration.
“The funds have also really helped me. I’ve been able to get food, and they’ve helped me bit by bit. I’ve not had to struggle for anything or go without food. The funds have meant that I’ve always got food in my stomach.
“Now I’ve also got my son back in my life after eighteen years. It’s important to me to show my son that I can do this. He loves coming over here, and he rings me every night to see if he can come over. I always say, ‘you can come whenever you want’!
“What’s made the difference is that I’ve got a roof over my head, which means I can relax and get on with my life. I don’t need to worry about where I’m going to get my head down. I can get back to doing things I enjoy, and I go fishing on the weekends now. There are two ponds in this area, so I get out there a lot. I’ve always loved fishing and now I can do it again, it’s great.
“Everything has worked out really well for me, and I’d say to anybody who is going through a similar thing to me, ‘keep going, and I hope for the best that everything will work out for you as well’. Now I just want to put what I’ve been through behind me, relax, and keep on doing what I’m doing and get on with living a good life”.