by Sara, Owens' support worker
I met Owen shortly after he had attempted to take his own life. He became homeless after leaving a relationship in which he was the victim of violence and had no choice but to sleep on the streets where he lost substantial weight to lows of 6 stone.
After being admitted to hospital, he was placed in emergency accommodation and ended up living there about a year. Nick felt completely alone, unable to go out and unable to make any connections with others because of the impact homelessness had on his mental health.
Owen was referred to Justlife by his doctor who was concerned about his low mood. At first, he was nervous to meet us but after we explained how we could support him, he was keen to start working with us and rebuild his life.
When I became Owen’s key worker, we worked together to devise a plan to get him into a home of his own, set up his benefits, help him manage his extreme anxiety, and improve his overall confidence.
Owen took to the support really well and we had lots of successes. Owen succeeded in receiving Personal Independence Payment (PIP) money which helps with the costs of everyday life if you have an illness, disability or a mental health condition. We provided him with a bus pass, enabling him to travel to where he needed to be, and a tablet that enabled him to make contact with his children and learn how to use technology.
As his confidence grew, Owen began seeing his sister again for the first time in over a decade, connecting with other people and becoming less afraid of change. He started eating consistently, gaining weight and feeling more healthy.
When lockdown hit, we took a break from meeting up to enable Owen to recover an illness. He believes he contracted Covid and was left very breathless and lethargic. As lockdown eased and he started feeling better, we started preparing to move Owen into a home.
Now that he was receiving PIP, he felt financially secure enough to move into a home that his children could visit, so we started bidding on properties. Soon after, Owen was offered a place and we could start planning his move. His family helped him out with furniture and redecorating, and Justlife sorted out his bills and rent payments.
Owen is very happy in his new home and said he would be content to live there forever. He never thought he would be happy to be alive, but now that he is healthy, housed and hanging out with his family, he finally is. Owen now lives independently and no longer receives support from Justlife.