Paul* is 55 years-old and was street homeless at the time of the initial assessment with Community Advice. Paul suffered a head injury as a young adult, resulting in organic personality change due to frontal lobe damage. Following the injury, Paul faced challenges in regaining his speech. To cope with these changes in his life he turned to class A drugs. He experienced mental health issues over the years which he would seek help for. He was sectioned multiple times due to expressing suicidal thoughts. Paul has diagnoses of Paranoid Schizophrenia and Mental and Behavioural Disorder due to his substance abuse. Eventually, Paul became street homeless, relying on drugs such as crack cocaine and heroin. He accumulated a number of short prison sentences for acquisitive crimes, typically serving around 6 weeks each time.
Paul was residing in a care home but was evicted for assaulting a member of staff during a psychotic episode and was arrested and removed by the police. Paul was brought to Highbury Magistrates’ Court where he was given a 12-month suspended sentence. Paul was referred to the Community Advice service by his solicitor for support around his homelessness. Paul explained he was in receipt of benefits but had no access to his bank card due to it being with his belongings at the care home. He provided us with contact details for his mother, whom he stated is his only support.
We liaised with Paul’s solicitor who confirmed that Paul had not been ordered to stay away from the property. We then contacted the care home and arranged for Paul to collect his belongings the same day. Upon speaking with Paul about his medication, he stated that he only had a few of his anti-psychotic tablets remaining. As Paul’s medication was previously being sent to the care home, we liaised with Paul and the care home to get the details of his GP practice and the pharmacy that prescribes his medication. We arranged for Paul’s medication to be sent directly to the pharmacist and he would have to collect it every 4 weeks.
Paul returned to the office the next day to inform us that the home did not have his bank card and he was unable to attend the council office to register as homeless due to having no ID. We contacted Paul’s bank who agreed to have a card sent to a local branch for collection. We requested a copy of Paul’s eviction notice and license agreement from the care home as this could be used towards proving his identity. We were also able to get a copy of his birth certificate from a previous outreach worker who was known to Paul and his mother
Paul’s mother provided us with contact details for the psychiatrist who diagnosed him. We then contacted the psychiatrist, who provided a supporting letter outlining his mental health issues which we printed for him to take to the council. We also provided Paul with a mobile phone so his mother and the council could contact him directly.
Due to delays in receiving the requested ID documents, the council were unable to provide support immediately due to his lack of ID. After four days we managed to get all the documents needed for Paul to approach the council.
Once Paul had the necessary identification documents, the council were able to support him. They placed him in a hotel where he will remain until they can find suitable accommodation.
Our ongoing support will include making an application for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and a Freedom pass. Paul’s case reflects the challenges faced by individuals dealing with complex mental health issues and homelessness. Without our support Paul would have found it extremely difficult to provide the documents required by the council which would have left him street homeless and a threat to himself and others. The lack of medication would also have had a detrimental effect on Paul’s mental health. Due to our intervention Paul will now receive support from the council and potentially find stable accommodation in the near future. Paul is aware he can return to the office when and if needed. We will also contact Paul for a number of follow ups over the next 6 months.
*Paul’s name and other identifying details have been changed to protect his identity