What a difference a friend makes
As part of the National Housing Federation's Homes at the Heart campaign, we would like to share this case study. It's about two of our homeless clients who formed such a great friendship and strong bond while staying with us, it turned both their lives around.
Tom and Martin (not their real names) moved to our purpose-built Homeless Centre from our old night shelter where they had been living for a while.
Both clients had a history of substance misuse and Martin’s general physical and mental health had suffered quite badly. He was dependent on alcohol and other substances. He had been diagnosed with Hep C and Diabetes and he was also diagnosed with anxiety and depression. At times this could lead to emotionally distressed and aggressive outbursts with other people using our homeless services.
Tom had been known to staff for about 3 years and had a history of alcohol dependency and drug use in the past. He had stopped drinking and was working to reduce his drug use.
Both clients had separated from their families and had made a life for themselves bouncing around between rough sleeping, sofa surfing, living in supported housing and night shelters. Tom was involved in a domestic incident with his wife and had restrictions put on him about meeting up with his children.
Martin suffered a minor stroke in 2015 but cannot remember exactly when. He developed gangrene in his fingers and lost the tip of one the thumb and finger of his left hand. He experienced sensitivity in his finger and thumb due to exposed nerves. While in our accommodation he suffered another bleed on the brain due to sustaining a head injury. Martin was also diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and was shown how to self-administer his insulin. Due to an erratic lifestyle he quite often forgot to do this and couldn’t remember if he had injected or to check his blood/sugar levels. His diet was rather irregular so this also affected his sugar/insulin levels.
Gradually, over the months, a bond formed between them and Tom started to help Martin with his daily living skills. This really helped Martin as he was left with a speech impediment and mobility issues after his stroke. Having previously both struggled with their mental health it was clear their friendship was beginning to help them both.
Martin was then successful in gaining a placement on the inspiring futures skills development and work placement programme at Coastline, and worked closely with Coastline Services on painting and decorating tasks.
They both moved into Chi Winder, Coastline’s Homeless Centre and they seemed to feel much better both having their own rooms. Martin was living in our accessible room making use of the lift when needed.
Tom assisted Martin in many ways. They became a delight to spend time with and, when they both felt they were ready to move on, they decided Tom would become Martin’s carer.
Applications were made and they successfully moved into their independent property with Coastline recently.
They are both really well, are loving being in their own space, have decorated inside and out and are improving the garden area to suit their needs.
A great story about how connecting with and caring for others can really turn around wellbeing. We are sure this will remain a firm friendship for life.