John was referred to the Lead Worker Peer Mentor service in May 2015 after being spotted by a peer mentor begging in Edgbaston. He had been evicted from a hostel three weeks earlier due to his violent and aggressive behaviour. He had a lengthy history of failed tenancies and had been in most of the hostels in Birmingham. John was at the time sleeping in a supermarket carpark and relying on donations from the public to feed himself and his addictions. In addition to this, he had been diagnosed with numerous mental health issues that were being untreated, and was known to self-harm. He was also an occasional legal high and cannabis user and was alcohol dependant making him at times very volatile. John was deemed as being very vulnerable and high risk due to his dual diagnosis accompanied by his aggressiveness.

Having assessed his accommodation options, we were acutely aware that his choice was limited due to his previous history.  He was initially placed in a hostel in an area of Birmingham that was away from his usual begging spot in which he stayed for 3 week. Unfortunately he was evicted for drunken and aggressive behaviour. He was then placed in temporary accommodation, but was wrongfully evicted after getting into an argument with the landlord.

John was keen to improve and with the help of his Lead Worker, he was referred to a well-managed, private supported accommodation in a quiet area of Birmingham, far enough away from where much of his anti-social behaviour that led him to get into regular altercations with other drinkers took place. They provide intensive support and ensure that he takes his medication daily which has helped to stabilise his mental wellbeing. We also engaged closely with his alcohol nurse to monitor his consumption general health.

Having recognised that there was a reoccurring pattern of behaviour around his benefit payments, we decided to ensure that we met with John  on his pay days guarantee payment of service charges and that he wasn’t too inebriated early in the day as he acknowledged that he would usually be at the cash point a little after midnight and start drinking.

Despite having had a few incidents in his new home, John is now approaching his first anniversary of being in accommodation. He has not been in accommodation for more than 4 months at any time for nearly 20 years. He maintains his service charge payments and has never been in arrears. Though he still drinks, it is at a significantly lower level, and in a safer way. He has begun volunteering in a community project, and has initiated contact with his family. He now hopes to meet his son and grandchild whom he has never met later this year.