“They kept asking me if I had any health issues. I kept saying no. Then it dawned on me, I went into A&E and said I was suicidal. They admitted me and I escaped the rain.”
Some of the people we spoke to felt that they often had no choice but to make their personal situations worse in order to be prioritised for housing or simply escape the cold.
Due to the lack of affordable housing and the low priority given to single homeless applications, more people have viewed supported housing as either a way of getting a bed for the night, or a route to moving higher up the council waiting list. Maintaining people in high cost supported housing is not only expensive, but also presents the same perverse incentives for those who have overcome their issues and are ready for employment and independent living.
The high rent charges for supported accommodation and a lack of options for people once they secure employment mean they are at risk of becoming trapped or becoming anxious and gaining a mental health diagnosis. This situation can escalate to people becoming institutionalised or gaining a status as ‘complex needs’. At this point they become a high-cost priority to the state, but on a personal level they are trapped in a situation of no hope or confidence and are disempowered to make positive changes in their lives.
Mayday recommends offering social housing to people with ‘complex needs’. Support offered through the PTS Response is optional (although subject to a duty of care, which means that in some situations Mayday will allocate a Coach in the best interests of the person). People can decide if, when and what support they need – meaning that they have control of their own situation.