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Sofa Surfing...

Sofa Surfing...

When we first met Lee he was living a chaotic lifestyle. As a result of a family breakdown Lee found himself in a position where he was either sofa surfing with friends or sleeping rough. Lee was known to the project through attending the Soup Dragon and Outreach Service.

At the age of 22 Lee found himself immersed in a culture of homelessness and drugs. On a daily basis Lee started to use new psychoactive substances (or so called ‘Legal highs’) as a coping mechanism to deal with his emotions and pain.

Lee attended the Soup Dragon for hot meals and over time he built up a relationship with members of staff to the point where he felt comfortable enough to talk about the chaotic lifestyle he had become immersed in. Lee had reached a point in his life where he could no longer bear the lifestyle he found himself in. By engaging with staff at the Soup Dragon/Outreach van Lee made an appointment with Lilian Higgins here at the project to look at his housing needs and how best he could be supported. Therefore with Lee’s permission referrals were made to various hostels in the locality of Wrexham, and he was allocated an appointment at The Foyer for an assessment. The next day Lee was over the moon to inform us that he had been allocated a place at The Foyer. He was delighted. Lee moved into The Foyer immediately and quickly expanded his social group and also received a further support network from staff at the hostel. Work was completed with Lee in a supporting capacity to register with local healthcare providers and claims were submitted with the DWP for JSA and Housing benefit. Essentially after living such an unsettled way of life it can be difficult and over whelming for young people to move into hostel accommodation where they are obliged to sign a licence agreement, engage with support, and attend job centre/doctor’s appointments.

In the initial stages of moving in Lee attended all appointments and it was felt that he was managing the transition to supported accommodation well. However Lee found it difficult to maintain this engagement. He failed to attend support sessions with staff at the Foyer and was sanctioned by the job centre on a number of occasions for none attendance. Old habits had started to emerge. After six weeks Lee was issued with a notice to end his licence agreement. This was a turning point for Lee, faced with losing the stability of his accommodation he decided that he needed to address his substance misuse issues which were at the forefront of his lack of engagement. A three way meeting was arranged by our project, with Lee and staff from the hostel. Primarily the focus of the meeting was to appeal against the decision to end his licence agreement. Through discussion with The Foyer it was agreed that Lee’s licence agreement would continue on a four weekly basis and extra support would be offered in relation to his substance misuse. It is very early days working with Lee however with continuing support for as long as he needs it we are confident that he has the ability to address these issues and make positive changes in his life.