Housing Support: Maxine's Story

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Transform Community Development led the Housing First Dundee pathfinder between 2018 and 2021 and took forward the mainstreaming of this programme at the end of Social Bite’s involvement. The mainstreaming of the programme was achieved by an innovative and far-sighted strategy, development within the Dundee City Council’s Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan, resources were reallocated by the closure of temporary hostel accommodation and utilizing this in the development and expansion of a housing first programme.

Working in in partnership with the Salvation Army, Dundee Survival Group and We Are With You (formerly Addaction), Transform Community Development endeavoured to support those experiencing homeless into stable, permanent accommodation. It focused supporting stability for those experiencing trauma, addictions or mental ill-health.

One such individual was Maxine who has struggled with addiction for most of her adult life. Her life has been blighted by trauma including the death of a brother due to an overdose, several failed tenancies due to abandonment, non-payment of rent or anti-social behaviour. Previous tenancies had also seen her being cuckooed, which resulted in her being assaulted and hospitalised.

The periods in between these tenancies had seen her living in temporary hostel accommodation, the instability exacerbating her mental and physical health issues.

Maxine became a participant in the pathfinder programme and the effect it had on her life was transformative. She moved into a tenancy in 2020 from hostel accommodation into a flat in an area close to her mother’s.

She wasn’t confident and was somewhat skeptical about the level of support she would receive. Members of the now rebranded Housing Support Team supported Maxine in the move from the hostel to her new flat, ensuring it was furnished and carpeted. She was supported in accessing the treatment at Dundee Drug & Alcohol Recovery Service, something that she had difficulty in sustaining previously.

Work was also carried out in supporting Maxine to manage her tenancy more effectively, like budgeting, being a good neighbour as well as support to attend urgent medical appointments and look at some meaningful activity such as engaging with a community arts programme, which has seen her make social connections outwith her previous social network.

With her situation improved the amount of support that Maxine received steadily decreased over time, whereas at the beginning of the journey there were weeks where she was receiving 20 plus hours of direct support from her Housing Support Worker; this has reduced to a couple of hours a week.

Should Maxine’s support needs increase, then re-entry to the housing first programme without further assessment will be granted, demonstrating the flexibility and participant focused nature of the support.

The Housing Support Team is currently working actively with 90 plus individuals, providing innovative and intensive support to those in Dundee who find themselves homeless or threatened with homelessness.

More information on the services Housing Support offers can be found on our website at: Housing First in Dundee

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