Although BHT Sussex began in Brighton, our support services extend to much of East, West and Mid Sussex. In Mid Sussex specifically, we have supported accommodation services which deliver much needed practical help and mental health support to those who find themselves homeless.

This is Joshua’s story; a client we supported through one such recovery focussed residential service in Mid Sussex.

Joshua is a 33-year-old man who found himself homeless following the breakdown of a relationship. Unfortunately, before coming to us, Joshua had a history of repeat homelessness since he was 18, exemplifying the cycle of homelessness that BHT Sussex works to get people out of. Joshua also had a history of criminal offences, substance abuse, and mental health problems that he felt unable to cope with. This unstable history, coupled with a previous eviction and historic debt to a housing association, meant that Joshua was struggling to find somewhere to rent in the private sector.

To help our clients to be able to live independently again, our supported housing services work through the many causes of someone’s homelessness. With Joshua, we first worked with him to establish how much debt he was in with the housing association, and helped him set up a manageable payment plan to repay the arrears.

In communicating with the housing association and other services that Joshua needed to approach, we discovered that his mental health was becoming a barrier to access; many of the appointments were being held over the phone due to Covid-19 restrictions. Joshua struggled with talking over the phone because of his anxiety, causing him stress, anger and frustration.

We supported Joshua to ensure that he could engage with these essential services, and found that video calls eased his anxieties, as he could see the person he was talking to.

We continued to work with Joshua to strengthen his ability to cope with his mental health, as well as his independent living skills, and a flat offer came up for him through a housing register. However, the application process wasn’t a straight-forward one, as Joshua became anxious and angry during his first virtual suitability assessment, causing the housing association to deem him unsuitable.

We advocated on his behalf and emphasised all the work he had done whilst in supported accommodation, and secured Joshua another assessment. In the lead up to his second chance assessment, we talked through Joshua’s anxieties and made sure he felt more prepared this time around.

During his second assessment, Joshua was much more comfortable, open and relaxed, leading him to be deemed suitable for a housing offer.

After all his hard work and our continued advocacy, Joshua was offered the flat. Drawing on the skills he developed to cope with his anxiety whilst in our supported accommodation, he returned to living independently with confidence.

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