Real Lives

Flying the flag for supported housing

Izzy and Local Service Manager Nikki

Izzy’s transition has been easier with support from Sanctuary Supported Living’s team who are committed to supporting people to overcome their challenges, so they can live a happy, fulfilling, and independent life.

Battling homelessness and at odds with her mental health, Izzy, who identifies as transgender, was referred to one of Sanctuary Supported Living’s supported housing services in Liverpool by Wirral Council in 2019. She was experiencing fear, anxiety and depression which were affecting her confidence and self-esteem.

The service she was referred to gives people with identified mental health needs the opportunity to get their life back on track for the long-term. When Izzy first arrived, her anxiety was so debilitating that her fear of having a panic attack made it difficult for her to leave the house. Using the Recovery Star for support planning, Izzy and her key worker came together to effectively manage her mental health needs and set some personal goals.

Whilst mapping her journey to recovery, Izzy was particularly keen to focus on ‘Identity and self-esteem’ – outcome nine of the Recovery Star – and the support that she might require through the physical and emotional effects of transitioning.

Now at the end of her transitioning journey, and the beginning of a new chapter where Izzy can live life as her authentic self, she tells us how Sanctuary Supported Living’s team has supported her for the last two and half years:

“The support I’ve received from the team at Sanctuary Supported Living throughout my transition has been amazing, particularly from my Project Worker who went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable. Although she didn’t fully understand what I was going through, she wanted to learn as much as possible and she asked me lots of questions to make sure she could support me as best as she could.

“The transgender community is diverse and complex and there is no one way to be a “perfect ally,” but everyone here was respectful, and they did their best, and they kept trying – I never felt judged at any point during my transition. Staff were sure to check my pronouns and make an effort to use them, and if there was anything they were unsure about, they were considerate enough to ask.

“They handled my transition with confidentiality, and I signed a consent form to agree who I did and did not want my personal details to be shared with. Even then they would double check that I was happy for them to discuss my experience with any visitors or new tenants.

“I’m fully transitioned now, and in a much better head space. I have the confidence to go shopping or the gym on my own, and I attend appointments with the Community Mental Health Team. I’ve started volunteering in a small café, and I hope that this is the start of something bigger for me. That’s what I’ve learned at this supported living service – the small steps are just as important as the big ones.

“Supported housing has changed my life, and I would advise other vulnerable members of the LGBT community to enquire with Sanctuary Supported Living if they’re seeking accommodation and personalised support.”

For more information about Sanctuary Supported Living’s services for people with mental health needs, see our latest news or find a service near you.

If you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer (LGBTQ) you may feel confused, isolated and misunderstood. For help and advice, contact Stonewall, A national LGBT charity working to achieve acceptance without exception for LGBT people.

Edel Harris

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