#StartsAtHome Day

James talks about the difference having somewhere safe to stay has made in his life

50-year-old James* gives voice to his journey from homelessness to having somewhere safe and comfortable to call home. James moved into P3 Housing’s supported housing this summer in June. Here we share James’ story, and he talks candidly about the difference having somewhere safe to stay has made to his life, as well as the changes it has set in motion for the better.

“I have been sleeping on and off the streets for 20 years, I was using drugs and alcohol for most of that time to get through it and I have been in and out of prison …

“My relationships with my family have been a struggle because of my lifestyle. My kids didn’t want to know me, and I just went on self-destruct. I was so sick of it, I just wanted to sort myself out as I knew if I carried on the way I was going I wouldn’t be here very long.”

For James, having the security of stable accommodation was the first step in his journey, it was something he hadn’t had for over 20 years. This gave him his independence back and he was able to start transforming the property into his home.

Initially James was nervous about handling his own affairs—he confided he’d not managed any daily responsibilities for years—he couldn’t remember when he had last paid a bill or budgeted for his daily needs. It was a struggle at first, however he was able to build the trust needed with his link worker and accept P3 Housing’s ongoing support; in fact it wasn’t long before James settled into a new mindset where he was confident to pay bills and budget for his every day essentials.

James quickly set about personalising the space and made the house his own, taking great pride in his property. He soon possessed a new-found self-esteem derived from maintaining his home and keeping it clean and tidy. Significantly, his lifestyle totally changed as he no longer had to worry about where he was going to sleep every night.

The new-found stability gave James the confidence to reach out and get in contact with his adult children. While rebuilding the relationships is going to take time, one of his daughters has already been to visit and stay over for the night. For James this is a milestone, something he never dared to think could happen and marks the transformation in his life.

Making the change

Before moving into P3 Housing James was in temporary accommodation. This was far from ideal as it was a shared hostel and James openly admitted to struggling in this environment. The people he met there were at very different stages in their lives and James confessed it wasn’t somewhere he wanted to be. Moving into his own supported housing has totally changed his life, it has broken the cycle of homelessness providing a genuine opportunity to start over. James sadly acknowledges it was only a matter of time before he would have lost confidence in the possibility of life changing for the better, given up and returned to life on the streets and his old habits …

James knows exiting the streets and moving into supported housing has been a catalyst for positive change. Living independently has meant James was able to stay safe during the last lockdown and focus on his own health and wellbeing, bringing his substance misuse under control and stopping. This has had a huge impact on his health. In fact, just having a home has improved his mood and mental health. James now happily cooks for himself and goes out and about every day, even if it is just for a short walk or to do a little shopping.

Moving forwards …

James regularly thanks his link worker and P3 Housing for everything they have done for him, despite being reminded that he doesn’t need to!

Today he’s enjoying life and can often be found relaxing in his own garden. He’s able to look to the future with optimism and talks about how he’s now leading the life he’s wanted for so many years. His family are now part of this life once more and they are really proud of how far he has come. James understands first-hand the difference P3 Housing’s supported accommodation has made in his life and feels this support should be offered to everyone who has experienced the same struggles he has had.

The trust he has with his link worker means he’s receiving the right support, as when needed, to ensure he maintains his tenancy and he knows as soon as he is ready he can move-on with confidence, because P3 will be there with him every single step of the way.

James says: “I cannot thank you enough for the support I get, having this safety net has been a lifesaver.”

*Name changed for anonymity