"Katherine's life has been challenging. Both her parents were drug addicts and domestic violence was a regular occurrence. Eventually, Katherine would use crack and heroin with her parents."
Katherine* joined us at Emerging Futures in July 2016, and has made significant progress in her life during her stay here so far. Like most of our tenants, Katherine’s life has been challenging, and, along with her sister who shares a house with her, she experienced a difficult upbringing.
Both Katherine’s parents were drug addicts, and the chaotic, dysfunctional home was something that she became accustomed to, with domestic violence a regular occurrence. Eventually, Katherine would use crack and heroin with her parents. Unfortunately, due to their substance abuse, her parents passed away. Although she experienced some stability at her grandmother’s house, her own drug use increased, and after becoming pregnant at 19, Katherine found herself struggling to cope. Recurring trouble with the police, caused her to lose custody of her daughter.
Katherine described the following years as a real struggle, as she failed to find a stable home, and spent most of her time sofa surfing. She was now using drugs daily and felt her life was spiraling out of control. After living on the streets for a long period of time, Katherine and her sister were eventually referred to Emerging Futures by the local homeless team.
On speaking about how life is today, Katherine admits that she still has her ups and downs; however, daily support from staff and engagement with local drug and alcohol services have made a positive impact in her life and helped to significantly reduce her drug use.
Since accessing our Housing First service, Katherine says she has started to think optimistically about the future and to feel part of the wider community, giving her a chance to form and sustain friendships. She is actively involved in various activities such as cooking and outings to the theatre and bowling and is booked on an accredited IT course.
"Katherine says she has started to think optimistically about the future and to feel part of the community... One of the highlights of Katherine’s progress has been enjoying some quality time with her daughter."
A daily structure of different group sessions, including a peer recovery group, and support from staff helps tenants like Katherine to engage and manage their daily lives. Because of the support she receives, she feels comfortable in talking to staff about personal issues, which has led to her having a sexual health check-up, and taking more responsibility for her wellbeing. She feels that her confidence and self-worth has improved significantly.
One of the highlights of Katherine’s progress has been enjoying some quality time with her daughter during the monthly visits she’s been able to organise. The stability of a home has given her a sense of personal responsibility and pride, and she regularly keeps the house clean, tidy and homely.
Looking to the future, Katherine has discussed her dreams of having her own place. These days she is able to lead a more independent lifestyle and believes that with the practice she has had in keeping up with regular payments with us, she will be able to manage herself when she comes to move on; she has already visited a few prospective social housing properties.
Eventually Katherine would like to live with her daughter again, and she is determined to keep reducing her drug intake. She feels she is in a much better place to make positive plans for the future.
*To protect identity, the name of the client in this story has been changed. Woman in image is an actress.