George lives in permanent supportive housing, in his own apartment where he can cook and which he keeps clean and tidy. He can read, watch TV, do his crafts the things he loves to do. And he’s becoming healthy. Every week, an Occupational Therapist visits to talk about his physical and mental health, to make sure he’s taking his meds. And a nurse visits, to help George out with his diabetes.
Life wasn’t always like this. George lived on the streets for over 30 years. He has a mental illness. That, combined with his experience as a homeless person, meant that he had an out of control hoard- ing problem. He was evicted from his first Housing First apartment because his hoarding habit led to bed bugs. George’s diabetes was also out of control – he’d never been able to eat properly or take his meds on the streets, and he had no idea how to begin to do either. He couldn’t sleep in his bedroom he’d move his bed to the balcony where he felt more comfortable. George needed more intensive supports to stay successfully housed.
In permanent supportive housing George’s support team is gradually helping him adapt to a new life: he’s learning about meal planning, how to shop, how to use his kitchen. The 24/7 care offered means that his support workers can gently encourage him to minimize his hoarding. He can’t let go altogether, so he agreed with his support workers to keep it to 2 closets for his hats. George’s delusions mean he won’t drink tap water and so becomes dehydrated: his support workers took him to buy bottled water. He’s now sleeping in his bedroom.
As a young man George went to university; lived in Ontario and the US. The details of how he ended up on the streets are few. But now, thanks to permanent supportive housing and his support team, George, at 66, can finally live happily and healthy.