The link between homelessness, mental health issues and the justice system

We have been profiling the life of just one woman that has come into contact with the justice system, as told by her key worker.

Her story is complex but all too familiar of many in a similar situation.

Angela is a 48 year old woman with tunnel vision and is registered blind.

She has on going issues with alcohol and records show that Angela has been involved in homelessness services over the last 17 years.

We continue Angela’s story after she was charged with a Breach of the Peace against the staff at the project she was staying at whilst intoxicated and discharged.

Her worker met with Angela outside the Sheriff Court after she was given Bail for Breach of the Peace charge at the accommodation. He escorted her to Two Max housing however advised to present to Hamish Allan Centre due to the volume of people awaiting interview.

Angela became increasingly agitated and left the Hamish Allan Centre with an unknown male and female against my advice.

Later that evening, she was assaulted and robbed by the same couple and found late at night by the police who took her into custody for her own personal safety.

Angela agreed to return with me to the Hamish Allan Centre two days later. After several hours waiting time Angela was advised that it would be “highly likely” she could be offered a place at Aspire project, Maryhill however she would need to come back in around three hours to allow the staff at HAC to prepare her case and give Angela the time to “freshen up” as she was smelling of alcohol.

Angela waited around 30 minutes before deciding she would go back to the tenancy of her estranged boyfriend to get her belongings. She did not return to the HAC.

The following day Angela phoned the Glasgow Women’s Supported Bail Service in a distressed state, initially voicing suicidal thoughts but later retracted these feelings. Several days later after leaving estranged boyfriends tenancy she was charged with a further Breach of the Peace and appeared at Sheriff Court. She was given Bail. I met her outside court and escorted her to the HAC. She was provided B and B accommodation in the Ibrox area. She was asked to leave less than two days later for chapping other resident’s doors after 11pm which is against the rules.

Her worker met with Angela and explained I would not be able to escort her to HAC however I would contact the Street Team to ask if they could attend with her. Street Team were unable to resource this request.

I was given information via the Tomorrow’s Women service that a “complex case” housing worker at the HAC may be able to provide further advice, information and support in relation to Angela’s case. She attended the HAC however was advised there was no accommodation available to her. I met with her the following morning in city centre. She stated that she “slept behind a bin shelter” She was pale and tired. I phoned the Complex case worker at the HAC to advise her of the situation. Around an hour later the CC worker phoned back to advise she had secured a placement for her at a B and B in Hillhead. I continue to strongly advocate for Angela requiring priority need for specialist accommodation support.