“Making the service fit the need is really important.”
Rob had been homeless on and off for twenty years when he arrived at St Mungo’s.
He had lost his live-in job when he was 17, and had to stay on the floor of a drug dealer’s flat. Fearing for his safety, he left, sleeping rough around London.
This was the start of a long battle with addiction and mental health problems that saw Rob bounce between services that were ill-equipped to help him, often spending periods sleeping rough.
Rob had been in an abstinence programme when he came to St Mungo’s – his tenancy had ended while he was in treatment, so he was at risk of being discharged with nowhere to stay.
He managed to get a little extra funding through his mental health trust, which gave him the time he needed to secure a place at Wood Lane hostel.
“The keywork was incredible – there was a plan put in action within two days of me moving in that was monitored. It was like ‘this is what you want to achieve, these are your goals’, so I kept being refreshed – ‘look, this is what you want to do’.
When I had nothing, everything I wanted I had to put onto paper, and they’d make sure that I would achieve that. I got my debts cleared, I got rehoused, I got my benefits sorted out, all these little things build those pages, and before you know, it turns into the book.”
Rob stayed at Wood Lane for 15 months, volunteering and attending college. Thanks to a discretionary housing payment from his local council, he was able to move on and into his own flat.
He is now a peer research worker with Groundswell, and sits on the London Homeless Health Board which aims to improve homeless people’s access to health services.
“I would say it was more than a foundation, they showed me how to be a person again.”
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