Journey through homelessness service

We continue our story about Angela and some of the reasons she became involved with the justice system.

We have called her Angela but to protect her identity we have changed her name.

Records show that Angela has been involved in homelessness services over the last 17 years.

The following is a summary/overview of her “journey” with the Homelessness services since March this year and the significant barriers and subsequent distress I have witnessed her in, as she struggles to access the type of accommodation suited to meet her complex needs.

Her support worker is telling her story.

She stayed in B and B accommodation for several months before being discharged for failing to occupy her room for several days. It was around this time in late March that Angela was referred to Turning Point Scotland and Aberlour’s Glasgow Women’s Supported Bail Service.

At this point she was staying at a male friend’s tenancy. She initially intimated that this was an “ok arrangement” however she later disclosed he was physically and mentally abusing her and exploiting her for her DWP monies.

She agreed to be assessed for Turning Point Scotland’s Glasgow Homelessness Service residential for 24 hour social and medical care and was given priority admission due to her presenting circumstances. She left against staff advice after one week.

Angela presented to the Hamish Allan Centre and admitted to the Women’s accommodation at Elder St, however she was told she needed to leave the following day as the project noticed that Angela was charged with a Breach of the Peace for verbally abusing/threatening one of the staff there a year prior whilst she was intoxicated and the case may be still pending.

From there she was moved to the Aspire women’s accommodation project in Govanhill, Glasgow.  It became clear to the Aspire staff fairly quickly that Angela’s needs were by their own admission, too high to provide her with the level of support she requires and concluded that she needed a much more intensive level of specialised support.

Staff witnessed a decline in her mental health to the point she was seen talking to herself and becoming increasingly verbally aggressive towards them. Angela would almost complain about the project on a daily basis without any progress or improved outcome. Her distress and anxiety was very visible. She did not know the area and her visual impairment exacerbated the situation, and was unable to go outside the building unless escorted.

Staff struggled to provide her this level of support and much of my own working time was spent with Angela during her stay there. Unfortunately, Angela was not seen by a homeless caseworker attached to the project throughout her stay of six weeks (I regularly asked if this could be done) and her accommodation needs were not progressed. Indeed, to date Angela has still to meet with her homeless caseworker. Angela was charged with a Breach of the Peace against the staff at the project whilst intoxicated and discharged from the accommodation.