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Mark’s Story…

The Outreach Team in Exeter are currently working with Mark a 55-year-old male with an extended history of homelessness.

Mark has had problem securing and maintaining suitable accommodation, this has been largely down to his sporadic engagement with services. Due to his substance misuse he often fails to attend appointments with various agencies, turning to aggressive begging to try and secure funds for his habits.

He realises a lot of his issues come through boredom, meaning that he is more inclined to take substances which result in him begging and then getting arrested as he is currently on a Community Behaviour Order (CBO)

The outreach team recognise the main issues to address would be the substance misuse and finding some purposeful activity to occupy him during the day and report;

“It can be frustrating when you meet a client who doesn’t want to engage with you. Consistency is key. This was certainly the case with a recent client, Mark, who I met in November 2018. He had been arrested for persistent begging. Mark was very angry and focused on getting some methadone to help him with the withdrawal symptoms. Despite my attempts to complete an assessment, this was unsuccessful due to him not being able to focus.

Upon his release from custody I had arranged to meet Mark next day at the CoLab. The plan was to continue assessing his needs with the option of referring him to Gabriel House. Unfortunately Mark chose not to come to his appointment.

Over the next few months I had occasional but meaningful contact with Mark both in and out of custody. I used this time to build rapport and to gain his trust. Mark felt no one would ever do anything to help him.

In June 2019 Mark was in police custody again for repeated breach of his CBO. I offered to see him in his cell prior to going to court, he was again insisting I get him methadone. This time I decided to take a more direct approach. I advised Mark if he wanted help he needs to engage and work with us to secure the best outcome for him. I arranged to meet him after court and complete the assessment so a referral to Gabriel House could be made. To my surprise he turned up and we completed the form and offer him an appointment with Gabriel House later that day. Mark attended the meeting and was booked in the same day. With his engagement we were able to assist in securing him accommodation within 24hrs of his release.

Mark was very thankful for our assistance and continues to engage well with our service and those that are supporting him.”