We met Dan at a free food venue that our Outreach workers attended – it was immediately apparent from his demeanour and behaviour that he was struggling to remain in a crowded, busy environment. When we were able to spend some 1:1 time with Dan he explained that he takes medication for a long standing mental health problem, and he has struggled to hold down a job and accommodation in the past. Dan had also travelled between two different areas, and so a main problem for him was finding a local authority who was prepared to accept that he was from that area and therefore accept his case. This meant he ended up rough sleeping– the nature of his mental health problems were such that he didn’t feel safe enough to stay at night shelter services.
After talking with Dan about his situation and gaining more information, we went with him to meet Edinburgh Council about housing to find out his rights and entitlement – it transpired that he had lived and worked in Edinburgh for several months, and he only needed to prove this. He was asked to bring in various documentation to prove that he had been living in Edinburgh (wage slips and his last known address), which he did with our support. Approximately one week later the council placed him in a B&B, but he left on the first night as the noise was impacting on his mental health issues. He was moved to another B&B, and then after a week he was offered a ‘PSL tenancy’; a flat of his own where he can stay for up to a few years whilst he found somewhere more secure. This move away from a life on the streets is a huge change for Dan, and he is happy and relieved to finally have somewhere to call home.