Jake* was referred to Fulfilling Lives Islington and Camden (FLIC) by the local homelessness street outreach team, he had been stuck in a cycle of homelessness and repeat offending for 30 years.

Jake had suffered physical and emotional abuse as a child, he was sent to boarding school and joined the Army at the age of 16. He left the Army in his early 20s suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (after having served in the Falklands war) and, with no support network to fall back on, ended up on the streets, where he began to drink heavily and then began using heroin and crack.

Jake did not receive a diagnosis of PTSD for many years and found it extremely hard to cope with his mental health symptoms. He often felt extremely anxious, angry, and paranoid and found being around other people intolerable.

Disillusionment set in and Jake felt that no services could help him. Services did not have the time to build the necessary relationship, and he was only ever offered hostel accommodation which, due to his mental health issues and history of being in institutionalised environments, he found impossible to bear and would either abandon or get evicted for challenging behaviour.

The drug habit became out of control and he was shoplifting up to £200 of goods a day to finance his drug use. This led to frequent arrests, with Jake having served over 50 custodial sentences.

Jake had no family support or positive friendships, and did not trust services easily and struggled to accept support in the way it was being offered. He was deemed too high risk and volatile to take part in groups. 

Jake started to access substance use services where he was given a methadone script. He found it hard to engage with set appointment times and the scripting process, and would often fall out of treatment. He was deemed too high risk and volatile to take part in groups.

After being referred to FLIC, Jake was provided with support that worked with his needs.

Jake was housed in his own private rented property shortly after FLIC made contact with him. He has now sustained his own tenancy for over three years. Jake has been supported to apply for long-term sheltered housing for people over the age of 55 years and has been accepted. He is now on the waiting list for a property that will be a home for life.

Once housed, Jake gradually detoxed himself off drugs and has now been clean for over three years (with only a couple of brief lapses). Without the need to fund a habit, Jake no longer needed to commit crime and he has not received a custodial sentence for over three years.

Jake was arrested a few months after joining FLIC on an old shoplifting charge but with advocacy from FLIC and a joint meeting with the probation officer writing the pre-sentence report for court, it was agreed that Jake’s engagement with FLIC could count as part of his community sentence. Jake was supported by FLIC to meet with his Probation Officer every week and he completed his supervision order. This was the first time this had ever happened without Jake being breached and returned to court.

Jake’s physical health has also improved as he agreed to register with a GP and attend a health-check. He was referred to hospital for assessment and has started treatment for an on-going lung condition, deep vein thrombosis in his legs, liver disease and has also recently had tests for blood-bourne viruses, which he had previously refused.

There's also been financial improvements too - with support he has now applied for benefits and been given budgeting support to cope with bills and home maintenance.

Jake adopted a cat a couple of years ago, which has brought him huge amounts of happiness!

Most importantly, Jake now has a relationship of trust and a secure base which has enabled him to address other issues he was facing.

The combination of rapid, appropriate housing, intensive, consistent and flexible support was offered unconditionally and with an understanding of how his past trauma affected his presentation and engagement.

*Jake is a pseudonym.

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