We found a home for Mr N. a few months ago.
But even though he had visited the flat, put some money aside for the first rent and received the keys... he didn't go there.
It was very difficult for him to project himself into it. It took almost a month before he could imagine himself living there and talk about how he wanted to furnish it.
But time went by and he still didn't move in. He found all kinds of reasons not to it: "I need to do some odd jobs but I'm waiting for my friends to be available to help me, it takes at least two of them", despite our offer to support him. Or even: "At the moment I'm sleeping in my cousin's house and I still owe him money, I can't leave without having repaid him. I want the housing to be properly furnished before I move in. I need equipment to keep me busy in this place (TV, books, etc)".
At the same time, he proudly informed his circle that he had a home.
One day, we took the time to bring all the move-in kit and organize the place with him. He tells us he is very happy and moved, and talks about his guilt in face of everything we give him, saying that he doesn't deserve it because of his past.
After two months, he begins to go into his home, little by little, during the day, for a few hours... but he doesn't sleep there.
During all this time, we try to inspire him the urge to integrate into this housing for good, to question his blockages, his needs, his desires... We try to arrange meetings with him on site trying to get him there. But we give them as much time as they need, without any pressure.
In parallel, we note a fact that seems to be crucially important to him, a form of commitment, of loyalty about paying his rent. He, who openly admits to have problems managing his money and tends to spend it all as soon as he receives some.
Finally, just before the end of the year celebrations, Mr. enters (at least) his apartment! With the desire to prepare a good festive meal! He's still projecting himself, which reassures us.
He quickly loses his keys. We have a duplicate to provide him for the entrance door, but not for his housing. So M. will be entering his apartment through the window for a while... until we find a solution with the owner, let's say a few weeks. Anyway, it seems he comes to sleep there every night.
In short, he's officially in housing, he no longer sleeps on the street, where he spends his days, but he goes home at night. It took a long time but here we are, what a step forward!
And this access into housing, even long and harrowing, was the beginning of everything.
Since this concrete proposal for housing, he's never ceased to amaze us!
He puts a lot of things in place and we try to point this out to him as often as possible, even though he feels like he's not moving forward.
He has set up, with our support, a property administration to better manage his budget, he has invested his housing, he is planning to move away from Liège, from his former relationships which he considers bad, he is planning a cure which he will soon enter, he visualizes himself otherwise than a street dweller, he has started a psy follow-up in which he gets involved, he sees himself as an “ordinary citizen”, recovered from his consumer past, without anxieties, a peaceful sleep, a place to rest, nice contacts which push him towards the high, he sees himself travelling.
This entry into housing really made it possible to start the recovery work according to the principles of Housing First.
This situation confirms to me that our work philosophy makes sense.
I am pleased to see M. evolve towards more well-being!
This story touches you?
(*) We do our utmost to respect the privacy of our patients and our professional secrecy. However, we want to testify to how they must survive and how we are working together to reintegrate them. As a result, the names of places and people are deliberately omitted or changed and real-life situations are placed in a different context. There is no direct link between the photos and the stories above.