Julie Grainge, from BCHA’s Housing First team in Exeter tells the story of Mr B’s journey, from homeless to employed.
“Our customer Mr B, was homeless and rough sleeping in Exeter for a number of years. He had a very traumatic childhood, got married very young and had two children.
“He struggled with addiction to various drugs, mainly heroin, but still managed to train as a chef in London and worked in some top restaurants.
“However, his marriage broke down, which is when he became homeless. In addition, he has to cope with the daily challenges of living with cerebral palsy.
“Mr B was referred to the Housing First Project and has been supported by the team since June 2019, moving into his flat in February 2020. This was a real turning point for him and he has managed to maintain his tenancy with intensive support for over a year now.
“He was on script for a while, which reduced his heroin use significantly. Unfortunately, he had a ‘blip’ after Christmas following a failed attempt to make contact with his children. He also recently had his bank account cleaned out.
“This episode, however, proved to be another turning point for Mr B and, with support from Housing First and other services we managed to secure an interview for a job at a restaurant in Exeter. The outcome of this was he received an offer of a job as commis chef, which is a brilliant result for him.
“This has given him a new zest for life. He has sorted his bank account to make it safer, tidied up his appearance and his flat, and is generally taking pride in himself and his home again.
“We are so proud of Mr B and so thrilled for his success.”
More information about BCHA’s Housing First service can be found on the BCHA website.