I have lived in two different Mind locations that come under “supported housing”, each with their own office and a different team of support workers. I’m currently still living in such a place, waiting to be moved on to a place of my own so I can stand on my own two feet.
I’ve also attended an interview with two potential support workers, both of whom I asked a few questions to see if they would be a good candidate, from the perspective of such a person they’d potentially support.
Simply put, it’s housing in which one lives and receives support; this does not have to mean that someone is there to wipe your bum, buy your shopping, and feed you blended mush through a straw. There are different types of supported housing.
I’m in supported housing for “vulnerable adults” with mental health problems or those who struggle with addiction such as alcoholism or the misuse of drugs. These places help people become independent, potentially help them acquire a place of their own, while supporting them through their issues, but it doesn’t replace the job of someone like a psychologist or psychiatrist. The housing is temporary—up to 2 years, typically, with an absolute maximum of 3 years. Where do I fit in to all this?
I’m in supported housing because I needed help to become independent and to find and move into a place of my own. I am, as much as I hate to admit it, to some extent, a “vulnerable adult.” I never really thought of myself classed in such an ugly, demeaning way, but apparently that’s where I stand, if only partly.
Before going into supported housing, I was stuck, living with my dad and step mother, and we were getting in each other’s way. My problems made things more difficult for all involved. Besides, I was 28, dying to spread my wings, so it was time to move on.
When it comes to living independently, where I struggle the most is with bills. In particular, I have anxiety problems and OCD, both of which get in the way of things like going out, being social, dealing with issues related to bills, making phone calls, and so on. Living here not only directly helps me with that, but it also teaches me how to deal with these things in the future.
Living in supported housing isn’t always as great as it sounds; there are downsides. Do note that there are better and worse places.
Unless you’re lucky or have very specific circumstances that grant you a solo mission, you will typically be shoved into shared accommodation. In my case, I have been put into places with just one other person, but there are other places in which many people can end up packed together.
You and your flatmate(s) each have a bedroom of your own, the doors to which have a lock. You will each pay a set bill that they call a “service charge” which is usually very inexpensive, as I believe this place is primarily aimed at those who don’t or can’t work, such as myself. If you’re lucky enough to live on your own, you have a lot more to pay, unfortunately. Each tenant should help to maintain the property, as per the usual.
The service charge includes the TV license, water, gas, and electric. For me, rent is covered by benefits. I pay less than £20 per week for such things, which is tremendously cheap and lucky. When I do finally get into a place of my own, my bank account is going to have quite a shock!
Part 2 can be found via this link!
A thank you to the Facebook page Mental Health and Invisible Illness Resources for sharing this blog entry.
Many thanks to the Facebook page Anxiety & Panic Disorders for sharing this blog entry.