Touchstone’s Housing Service is part of the Positive Pathways partnership, which helps people, who are having difficulties connected to their mental health, to either find a place to live or to better manage their current accommodation. Ultimately, the best measure of our success is the impact we have in the lives of people who use Touchstone Housing service, which is why we’re delighted that one service user gave permission for us to share their story…
When I first came into contact with Positive Pathways, I was living in a privately rented shared house in a busy student area of Leeds. I lived in a small, single room that didn’t even have proper cooking facilities. The whole house was in a very poor state of repair and the landlords didn’t really seem bothered about it. Most of the other tenants in my house were heavy drinkers and the neighbours often had loud parties into the early morning. I didn’t sleep much and became very depressed and anxious. A friend had had help from Touchstone before and suggested I try the same.
I made a self referral for supported housing and ended up being offered two properties but didn’t feel like they would be good for me. Later Touchstone rang me and asked if I would like a Floating Support Worker. I agreed and a short time later was introduced to Mark.
Mark helped me to understand my mental health problems better and to learn new ways of coping and keeping myself healthy. I got help with making and keeping doctor’s appointments so that I started getting better.
I started going to services at a local church and have made a lot of good and supportive friends. Through attending church, I have felt happier and more confident. Last Easter I even played the part of a Roman centurion in a play that my church group acted out in the local community: something I wouldn’t have imagined doing a year ago.
To change my poor housing situation, we filled out an application form to register to bid for council housing and Mark wrote me a letter to send to the council that explained my situation and why it was important that I move away from where I was living. When Mark heard that a local housing association might be able to offer me a new flat, he helped me get in touch with them and arrange to do an application. I was a bit nervous when we went to their office but I did the application, and viewed a lovely flat straight after the interview. I signed the tenancy agreement a couple of days later.
At first I felt it was all too good to be true and that someone might take it all away from me but, with a bit of help, I was able to make the necessary phone calls, set up my utility bills and learn how to manage paying my bills and come up with a system to keep track of where I am with everything. This was all quite new to me and I was really nervous about whether I could manage but slowly I got better and more confident. I now ask for help a lot less and spend more time telling Mark how I sorted things out by myself!
I’m taking one day at a time and not planning too far ahead because that doesn’t seem to work for me just now. However I can say that I’m more interested in the future than I was a year ago. I am quite a bit more positive now, a bit less anxious and ended up getting a lovely property, through Mark’s hard work.
I have achieved all this with the support and encouragement of Mark and the Touchstone team. I don’t think Mark could have done any better. He’s done so much. He’s been great!
Find our more about our Housing Service