LHF supports The Peoples Recovery Project and has recently agreed a grant of £30,000. Here are some stories from people who have experience of homelessness and addiction and now support their work.
I was homeless in Westminster for about 20 years. In this time, I was in and out of homelessness services, police custody and incarcerated in prison on a number of occasions. I never wanted to go to rehab and did not see this as an option. The first time I went was due to a drug rehabilitation requirement issued by the court, and it was a way of getting me out of prison. I was not ready for rehab at this point.
When you are accessing different homelessness services, such as hostels and day centres, it is really difficult to access rehab: you have to jump through so many hoops. It felt like there was always a constant block and if it was not the limitations of one service it was due to the requirement of another organisation, or legislation that says you have to have a local connection, live in the right catchment area, or meet a certain criteria.
Eventually I was given the opportunity to go to rehab which changed my life, I was able to move forward in my life and ended up moving to Gloucester. I found that this was not for me. I was in a City I did not want to be in. I ended up coming back to London and lapsing and having a one-night bender. In the morning I woke up and the first person I rang was my key worker at the time, who happens to be one of the co-founders of The People’s Recovery Project. With his support I arranged a ticket to get to Manchester and moved there to be close to my family. I have not looked back since: I’ve passed my driving test, I’ve been on holidays and I got married last year. It’s onwards and upwards for me.
In my opinion The People’s Recovery Project approach is a game changer. They are seeing things from the person’s perspective and offering people a genuine opportunity to recover from their situation. They aim to offer people residential treatment without lots of conditions. In my experience there are so many groups you have to go to: The blue groups, the green group and then the yellow group, and that’s before you get to the other funding panels. By the time you’ve made it to the fourth funding panel you are back on the streets and using drugs. This was the block for me, all the hoops you have to jump through. If I had been offered the opportunity to go to treatment in the first 4 to 6 weeks of using, I think I would have gone. Eventually I had the willpower because I wanted to change the way I was. For some people that is not an option, and it is a case of now or never. If you can get to people early then that is going to be so important.
You can find more stories, blogs and much more information at The People’s Recovery Project (thepeoplesrecoveryproject.org).