Mary is 74 years old and became homeless after abandoning her housing association flat. She found it difficult to cope with managing her tenancy and felt overwhelmed. Before she retired she had been employed by the local authority and was a qualified Psychotherapist.
Mary used her free travel pass to travel to Heathrow airport every night and that’s where she slept. She used the facilities there to wash and managed to remain anonymous to others for some time. When her state pension was paid into her account, she stayed at B&B’s and washed her clothes in the launderette. During the day, she spent her time in the British library, where it was warm, reading books. She got into a pattern of doing this every day and returning to Heathrow to sleep.
She was brought to Borderline’s attention by a Policeman who kept coming across her in the airport. She did engage with him initially as he was Scots born and they found some common ground. However, her mental health deteriorated and she became suspicious of him. He called Borderline’s helpline and asked for help.
We arranged with the Scottish Outreach Worker (SOW) to try and track her down in the library. The first visit was unsuccessful but she was found on the second. After that they arranged to meet the following day and from there they worked together to find a suitable housing solution. A hostel place was secured and Mary finally agreed to move in. She got support there, had her own room and still had the freedom she required during the day to go out and about as she pleased.
Working with the SOW in regards to her finances it was discovered that she had an Occupation pension that she had not accessed and was owed a considerable amount of money in back payments. This money was used to secure privately rented accommodation and to furnish it. The SOW continued to visit her to ensure her bills where set up on payment plans and that she felt safe and secure. One year on, Mary is still living in her flat and has access to a support worker should she require assistance.