“I wanted to thank you again. I got my forever home, I held out and only bid on places I really wanted. Thanks to my housing officer, the supported accommodation you got me in and YOU, I now believe in life and the future. Thank you for your belief in me and the strings you had to pull.” – Liam’s text to his Cyrenians Outreach worker.
Liam* had been stuck in a cycle of homelessness and temporary accommodation for years, not moving forward and not engaging with support services. When we met him he had been living in unsupported homeless accommodation – a ‘B&B’ – for 2 years. Like most B&Bs, Liam’s lacked cooking facilities, so he was struggling to feed himself properly on a budget. There was no washing machine or fridge. The B&B’s curfew meant he had to be home by a certain time each night or risk being thrown out. He was referred to our Inclusive Edinburgh Case Coordinator, Birgit, by his housing officer.
Liam missed his first few appointments with Birgit, yet she didn’t give up on him, keeping on calling until he finally came along and started to meet with her on a regular basis. Liam couldn’t believe Birgit was willing to give him another chance, as his previous experience with support services had been ‘two missed appointments and you’re out’.
Birgit talked with Liam about using the Key to Choice website to bid for a council tenancy, which would get him out of the B&B, but he said he didn’t feel ready for his own flat. So, Birgit suggested supported accommodation instead (a homeless hostel), where he would receive support from professionals to move forward with his life as well as a more suitable living space. Birgit helped him to apply and Liam was delighted when he was offered a place! He stayed there for 18 months and it gave him the time and space to address his challenges, develop daily living skills and increase his confidence. Whilst he was in supported accommodation, Birgit supported him to bid each week for a permanent council tenancy in an area he wanted… and he got it!
By persisting even when Liam didn’t show up and taking the time to build a relationship with him, Birgit managed to engage with Liam when other services hadn’t been able to. Without our ‘stickability’ and support, he would still be stuck in a cycle of homelessness.
For 50 years we’ve journeyed with thousands of people like Liam in tough realities, helping them transform their own lives for themselves, but there is still much to do.
Please donate to support our continued work in this, our 50th year.