James was brought up in a house where there was a high level of domestic abuse from his father towards his mother and he witnessed a lot of controlling and abusive behaviour. Growing up into his teenage years he unfortunately lost his brother who hit his head and tragically died. He then moved with his sister to another city; his sister was then brutally murdered and he blames himself for this murder. During his adult life he has also experienced the trauma of not being able to see his children, and the deaths of friends made at homeless services. Just recently, his only friend was also murdered.
James led a transient life in the city and was on a revolving door for commissioned services, prison and rough sleeping.
He is alcohol dependent and can become aggressive very quickly including some violent outbursts. This would often lead to police arrests and sometimes eviction notices, depending on the charge. Long periods of rough sleeping would then follow, with a negative impact on James' mental and physical health..
His heavy drinking resulted in him developing an alcohol related brain injury. James sustained other injuries too, but his health needs were not met as he was unable to identify these. His benefits were also not maximised so he wasn’t claiming all the benefits at the rate he was eligible for.
James was getting arrested every day, evicted all the time, lonely, not listened too, tired, had no trust in services, received prison sentences, and had no hope.
James sought help from community services linked to his cultural needs. They had a flexible approach to supporting him, such as outreach in the community, as well as prison in reach programmes and drop in services. He experienced a caring professional relationship with the cultural service in the city. However they were not always able to provide the level of support he required.
Due to his entrenched lifestyle James engaged with the homeless outreach team from the Whitechapel Centre. He also had multiple stays in commissioned services. They frequently broke down because they were not equipped to be able to manage his challenging and complex behaviours. All which stem from traumatic life experiences and ongoing frequent traumas of eviction and rough sleeping.
James then started receiving support from Liverpool Waves of Hope. He built a very good trusting relationship with support workers, he was listened to and support workers learnt new ways of working with him. Being well known to services in a negative manner has been a barrier to James accessing services. They helped him overcome this by mapping his behaviours and sharing it with teams.This then allowed staff to start learning how to deal with his aggressive behaviour, allowing him to access services especially health services.
Since receiving support, health has become a priority for James, and he is managing to stay in placements for a longer time than before. The consistent support across systems and services, means he has had the opportunity to build and sustain relationships. The traumatic experiences in his life have been recognised as well as the impact they have had on his mental health. His benefits have been maximised and he has received budgeting support. When he has fallen out of accommodation through eviction or abandonment, support has ensured a swift return to being placed in a commissioned service, detox service or funded placement via a social work team.
James has seen a change in how others and the services work with him. He was previously referred to the Peer Mentor Service. Initially he was not at a point to be able to work with them effectively, however now more settled James can benefit from this programme. His Peer Mentor will help alleviate his boredom and sustain his accommodation, by visiting once a week to accompany him out walking and have a chat. James has taken part in several activities with other organisations, but found it hard to commit. He is hoping that the support of a Peer Mentor might enable him to join in more meaningful activities moving forward.
James thinks the relationship with his specialist worker and the team she works in is often pivotal to him engaging in support and making progress. The flexibility and person centred approach has enabled him to receive support whenever he has needed it. Having someone to advocate for him with other services has also been essential.