DDN December 2021 December 2021 | Page 15

I have visited a property they are working on now and they have thought carefully about residents ' privacy , mental wellness , and the light in communal areas , while also recognising the need to keep everyone safe and involved . They are not insisting that all rooms are for rental income – they have listened to our need to have space for us to provide education and learning onsite . They have even thought about the environmental impact and the cost of running a supported house .
NEW PARTNERSHIPS I am looking forward to entering a partnership with the National Housing Group soon – their staff are not only property experts but have employed people who have previously worked in the sector and understand our needs as providers and residents as recipients of support . Look out for our announcement of the opening of our first partnership house .
A version of this article also appeared in Inside Housing magazine .
Gill Arukpe is CEO of the Social Interest Group .


National Housing Group share the story of one of their residents

James was helped by our Pathways to Independence service in Kent . He entered our low / medium support Newlyn Court project in July 2018 – he had been referred while homeless and has spent time in custody and on community orders . His most recent offence was for shoplifting in July 2019 – he was given a 12-month suspended sentence .

James has struggled with an addiction to heroin for 14 years . He moved away from his family home at 15 and has been without a settled home since then . He had surrounded himself with associates who held procriminal attitudes and who also struggled with addiction . Rough sleeping exacerbated this lifestyle , and he became reliant on services like the local day centre for support , food and social interaction .
James had additional support needs – he had no budgeting skills as all his adult life was spent homeless , with poor money management leading to debts and an acknowledged struggle to take responsibility for himself and his actions .
James ’ health was compromised . After years of drug use , he has contracted hep C and had never prioritised treatment for this because of homelessness and recovery from addition . James has struggled with his mental health and emotional wellbeing during his time with us , and he was diagnosed and medicated for anxiety
James has struggled with an addiction to heroin for 14 years . He moved away from his family home at 15 and has been without a settled home since then .
and depression . During his time , he has experienced suicidal thoughts and overdose attempts . James accepted the support from staff and engaged well with primary healthcare services during times of crisis .
For now , James is doing very well . He has drawn strength from the peer support he finds in Cocaine Anonymous meetings , having a sponsor , studying the ‘ big book ’ and talking with others who share his experiences and can offer him support . He has recently completed 90 meetings in 90 days , has spoken publicly and applied to volunteer back at the day centre which once was a trigger point for him . James is on a reduction programme and plans to spend a short time in detox to wean himself off completely .
James is now selfsufficient in most areas of his life . He manages his accommodation well and is now in one of our selfcontained units in Tumim House , as a stepping stone to complete independence . He can now budget effectively and has no debt . James has better relationships with family which he cherishes , and he is looking forward to a family wedding this year . He has worked hard and even though he sometimes still has ‘ drug thoughts ’ he has learnt from experience not to let his guard down and to renew his commitment to support networks and communicate openly with his support coach , probation and drug workers ..
Bohdan Skrypnyk / Alamy