“I feel more at home here. My level of comfort has increased. It was the Tenancy Sustainment Support that helped with all of this”
The whole idea of secure accommodation is to provide the tenant with a level of comfort and wellbeing. And I think that’s worked wholeheartedly.
I’m a tenant of a Southdown property and have been here for seven years. It’s a one bedroom sitting room with a separate bathroom and kitchen.
My rent is paid by Housing Benefit. That’s a great burden off my shoulders. I’ve been able to pay off a student loan and water bill and I now have a level of comfort I’ve not been used to. It feels less stressful.
I suffer from psychosis, depression, and anxiety.
I was being kicked out of my previous flat. I had stopped paying rent because I was being intimidated. I kept hearing voices. They used to be racial and it was demoralising.
I had a heart attack because of it. I went to a psychiatrist. It was overwhelming, overbearing, and made me very anxious and depressed.
The frustration and confusion of feeling intimidated by these voices I hear is really difficult. I was really distressed.
The voices are confrontational. Now they are a critical running commentary of what I am doing and whether I deserve a meal, for example.
People think I’m just going doolally because there’s no evidence of these voices. I can’t tell you where they are coming from.
I have a history of self-medicating with whisky and cocaine. It gave me an experience of escapism and numbed the voices I was hearing and what was happening in my life. But the long-term effects weren’t worth considering.
Alcohol is still a struggle for me. Whisky is my main demon. It’s very hard to go on with life without these things. Hearing voices is demoralising. It’s a burden on my shoulders and gets worse and heavier every week. It drives me back to drink.
I really wanted to look at myself from the outside looking in, to see that I can stop and reflect, and create distance from the ‘me’ that drinks, but group therapy hasn’t been helpful to me.
The problem for me is how I am going to tackle it every day. It’s horrible, you’re constantly questioning yourself, constantly contradicting yourself. It’s exhausting. It’s very exhausting. I am on medication. It’s helping to a degree – it stopped the intimidating voices for a short while.
My mental health team helped me get this property. At the time it was nice. But the voices travelled with me. I kept it to myself for a number of years but then I told the mental health services. I got a Community Psychiatric Nurse and received support from a Southdown Housing Officer. We would chat about the voices I was hearing and about general housing matters.
I have a Tenancy Sustainment Co-ordinator and I call him if I’ve got problems or need extra support. It’s brilliant – it’s really helpful. I can be assured he will take on my case, do what is necessary. I trust him.
We had a bed bug infestation in this block of flats. I was suffering with it. They accommodate the space. Last year they spread, so my Housing Officer and the Tenancy Sustainment Co-ordinator investigated the problem and looked at the source of the problem. They sprayed our rooms, changed our mattresses, washed our clothes and bedding, and cleaned the surfaces. It took a whole day so I had to go out.
The Co-ordinator made sure everyone was aware of it and out of the building to get it ready for spraying. He came in and was very conscientious about his tasks and diligent with the way he approached his work. He was great; a consummate professional.
Now the problem is fixed and it feels amazing. I can’t believe that problem has disintegrated – I’m so pleased about that.
When I had an eye operation, the Tenancy Sustainment Co-ordinator phoned the hospital to help arrange transport from the hospital and food for when I returned home. It was so nice to have someone to support me.
I lived like a hermit before I met him. I felt so isolated. I didn’t know anybody in Brighton and I’d had an experience of financial abuse from someone I knew. I was prone to loneliness. It was not a nice stage of my life.
He picked up on that and got me onto a neighbourhood befriending scheme – where I could meet someone, go for coffee, talk, and share life. I’ve met her four or five times now. It’s made me feel more wanted. It’s opened the doors of society to me.
Confidence is like a big thick layer of ice for me – it’s hard to crack. Being a hermit has not helped. That is a concern of mine. I still dread going out – I only go to the shops when I need to. I still find it difficult to break the ice, but I have a smile for people. You have to roll with life I find. That’s how you make a good comfortable existence for yourself. It can only be a good and positive road.
My background is in civil engineering but I didn’t follow that route – I went down the route of poetry. I had a book out in 2016! I’ve been doing a lot of artwork. It is therapeutic.
My neighbour has similar interests so we bounce ideas off of each other. It has taken my mind onto a different steer and helped me think of different ways in changing my life – that’s been really helpful.
I feel I can settle more. It’s important. It’s the places where you dwell, where you are – where you be. I feel more at home here. My level of comfort has increased. It was the Tenancy Sustainment Support that helped with all of this.
I applaud Southdown for injecting that support. It’s just amazing. Any support makes a big impact on a person’s life.
Coming in to check on our wellbeing as tenants is very welcome and makes a big difference to the comfort of people in the building.
It’s made me more willing to ask for help and support. Southdown are interested in what your problem is. I’ve always found that with Southdown. I’ve always had that privilege. They are the sort of people I can talk to openly. They’re lovely people.
We are a specialist housing provider and landlord for over 600 tenants and shared owners across Sussex. We provide different types of affordable housing from temporary accommodation to a long term home. As a supported housing landlord, we provide additional support for our tenants to help them manage their tenancy and maintain their home.