Jim's story

A British citizen of Nigerian origin, Jim returned to Africa temporarily to help his wife arrange a permanent visa. Jim has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, which he usually manages successfully through medication. However, he did not take enough medication to Nigeria, and he became depressed and was delayed for several months.

Jim returned to Britain in August 2008 to find he had lost his job and his tenancy. His wife was still in Nigeria trying to finalise her visa. He went to the police to ask for help and was referred to O'Hanlon House.

When Jim arrived at O'Hanlon House, we immediately allocated a Resettlement worker to help him get back on track. Jim organised his medication and his mental health soon improved. He applied to transfer to the separate, referral-only Resettlement Floor and started applying for work.

With the help of his Resettlement worker, Jim identified private rented housing with a Home Choice tenancy as his preferred move on option. He felt able to cope with paying rent and independent living, and able to manage his bi-polar disorder.

His application for Home Choice candidacy was successful and we helped Jim search for appropriate accommodation. He chose an unfurnished flat close to where he used to live with his wife, where they had friends and a sense of community. His application was successful and all the necessary payment and tenancy sign-up arrangements were made. Furniture was ordered from the Emmaus secondhand store and Breakthrough provided small household items. Jim was beginning to feel things were slotting back into place.

As part of our resettlement services, we provide six months of outreach support for Home Choice tenants with subsequent floating support delivered by Connection as needed. Jim settled in quickly and needed very little support except in finding work and organising his wife's visa. Because he had a sound work history, he was soon able to find employment. Within two months, his wife was able to return to the UK.

Jim dropped in at O'Hanlon House six months later to let us know that all was going well for him. He was enjoying his job, and he and his wife were expecting a baby.

Jim's story highlights that when a person experiences an issue such as ill health, problems sometimes snowball very quickly - and that's how many people become homeless. With the right support at the right time, many homeless people can take control of their issues and get their lives back on track.

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