Housing First helps Maxine to Transform her life

Housing First is helping a woman who struggled with addiction, trauma and physical abuse to maintain a tenancy for the first time and transform her life. Maxine has been in her Dundee flat for four years following several tenancies that failed due to abandonment, non-payment of rent or anti-social behaviour. 

During one tenancy she was cuckooed, attacked and hospitalised, and she had spells staying in a temporary hostel which caused her further physical and mental anguish. 

She moved from a hostel into a flat in 2020 with support from Transform Community Development as part of the Housing First Pathfinder it led with other local organisations from 2018 to 2021. Funds once spent on hostels are now being repurposed to develop Housing First in the city. 

Despite moving closer to her mum Maxine wasn’t confident and was sceptical about the level of support she’d get – an important factor as she has fought addiction most of her adult life and suffered trauma including the overdose death of a brother. 

But members of the now rebranded Housing Support Team ensured her flat was furnished and carpeted and helped her access the treatment at Dundee Drug & Alcohol Recovery Service, something she had difficulty in sustaining previously.  

Maxine also got help with household budgeting and was supported to be a good neighbour and attend urgent medical appointments.  

Her support level has dwindled from 20-plus hours of direct support from her Housing Support Worker each week to a couple of hours a week, and this will be stepped down to a lower-level support team in the coming months.  

But if Maxine’s needs increase, she can re-enter the Housing First programme without further assessment – showing the flexibility and participant-focused nature of the support.   

This approach also allows the Housing Support Team to reallocate support hours and free up a Housing Support Worker for a new tenant. 

Maxine has now taken up meaningful activity including engaging with a community arts programme, which has given her social connections outwith her previous network.  

The Housing Support Team works actively with over 90 people, providing innovative and intensive support to those who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. 

Transform Community Development took forward mainstreaming of Housing First in Dundee at the end of Social Bite’s involvement in the programme, using an innovative and far-sighted strategy to develop and expand the programme. 

The charity works with Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership and Dundee City Council to develop services in alignment with the local Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan.