The City of London Corporation - Personalised budgets for entrenched rough sleepers

This project demonstrates a new way of working to get the most entrenched long-term rough sleepers off the streets by providing personalised budgets and intensive support for each individual.

All those involved in the project had been sleeping rough for between four and 45 years and been very reluctant to take up offers of hostel places or detox programmes. Staff worked with each person to develop a personalised budget and an action plan to help them move away from sleeping rough at their own pace.

Winner 2011: received £25,000 prize money

Jay's Story

JayJay had long since given up seeing doctors or even talking about the frighteningly painful headaches he has endured for most of his life when last year, at the age of 58, they were successfully diagnosed for the first time.

“I had three intense headaches a day, like having a nail drilled into  your forehead, three months on, three months off, from the age of nine years-old. They were like a metronome, you could set your watch by them.” Demonstrating the phlegmatism that earned him the nickname ‘the computer’ at school, Jay says that he simply adapted to the pain; “I couldn’t see any chance of doing anything about them, so I just got on with it and made them a part of my life.” The son of a headmistress, Jay enjoyed school, where he was often top of the class during term time, but found written exams to be a stumbling block.“Whether or not it’s to do with my headaches or not, I don’t know, but I’ve always had a problem getting what’s in my head down on paper.”

And although by the time he reached his late 20s the frequency of the headaches lessened, they never went away. Part of what psychologists would call his ‘coping strategies’ involved spending large parts of his adult life living ‘outside’.The longest period of his adult life to be lived, as Jay describes it, ‘inside’ (housed) was a 12-year spell, which included a “five or six-year marriage” (sometimes Jay is vague on personal relations). “I’m not very good at relationships, mainly because I don’t have a lot of emotions. I’m not cold, but I suppose I’ve always thought that emotions cloud our thinking and I’ve always striven to think clearly. My favourite catchphrase at school was ‘that does not compute’ and this was when there were hardly any computers!

“I like to take a rational approach to decisions and I like to make a list of ‘pluses’ and ‘minuses’ to weigh up the options.

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