Michael (pictured above centre with Housing & Support Workers John Branthwaite and Stephen Lowther) is a local man of 50 who was alcohol dependent for around 30 years. Michael has lead an extremely chaotic lifestyle and has had trouble maintaining a tenancy due to undesirable behaviour from himself and his friends. Michael had always been unable to access local authority housing due to his and his friend’s behaviour. Michael was well known to local police and had numerous convictions for drunk and disorderly and was described by the police as a nuisance more than anything else. Michael was known to DASH and had been refused housing in the past because of his behaviour during the interview process and because he was not willing to address his drink problem.

Things came to a head in early 2016 when two of Michael’s friends died because of drink related illnesses. Michael took it upon himself to stop drinking with help from ‘Centre for Change’ in Durham. Michael also found himself homeless at this time and came to DASH. At this stage Michael stated that he had been abstinent from drink for a week and was determined to stay clean. Michael presented himself in a much more reasonable and likeable manner. It was decided by DASH that Michael would be given a chance in our temporary homeless accommodation on a 28 days licence. Michael was made aware that if he returned to drinking he would not be allowed to stay to which he agreed.

Five months down the line Michael is still drink free with no relapses. Michael has willingly engaged with DASH support in all areas and has been a pleasure to work with. Michael’s sense of humour and candid views on his past have enamoured him to DASH staff. DASH submitted a Durham Key Options application with the expectation that it would be refused. We liaised with Durham City Homes anti-social behaviour officer who had recently noticed the transformation in Michael and agreed to vouch for him. Michael was accepted onto DKO and just this week has been offered a property which he has accepted and is awaiting keys.

Michael added this comment -

‘I have found the staff friendly and helpful. If it was not for DASH I would be on the streets and probably back on the drink or worse. I think the rules about no guests in the shared property was a good idea and has helped me to say no to hangers on now that I have my own place!’

Michael’s story is a one that will hopefully bring hope and encouragement to anyone in a similar position and we wish him all the best for the future.