"I was living in Derby when my relationship got worse and turned more violent. I turned to alcohol as an escape and ended up living on the streets. The police picked me up and took me to hospital. I was in a bad way. After my detox, the mental health team were talking about me returning home and going to a day centre for support. But my ex-partner was still around, so I didn't really want to go home. That was when I first heard about Shared Lives scheme. They were in the meeting and suggested that living with a Shared Lives carer in a nearby area, could be a better option. It sounded safe, and I'd get the support I needed, but I'd still be able to live my own life. But even that wasn't straightforward.
The hospital team said I wouldn't be able to go home, which I agreed with, but they wanted to put me in long term care home. I really didn't want to be put away. The Shared Lives team attended another meeting - a multi-disciplinary team meeting - at the hospital and explained that they could support me to live in a Shared Lives carer’s home, for two or three months.
They would support me to become more confident, look after myself and hopefully, I'd be well enough to return to my own home. I was nervous about living with a family I didn't know, but I met my Shared Lives carers and visited their home. They were lovely. It felt safe and I decided I'd be able to get on with them. It felt like a calm place, but I'd have my own space - they were so supportive.
Shared Lives in Derby were also able to set me up with another Shared Lives carer, who I could go and visit in their home two days a week, which was closer to my own. I got back in the community, going to the shops, and finding local support groups. I'm so glad of Shared Lives support. Without them I wouldn't feel my normal self. Their friendship, sharing their everyday life and support has got me through some tough times and back on my feet."
SafeLives, our partner launched a spotlight on domestic abuse and mental health and homelessness. It shows that 32% of women said that DA contributed to their homelessness. We also know that homeless women with mental ill health are more likely to have slept rough than those without – 76% compared to 54%.
A report from NDTi says that "Shared Lives has the potential to offer a unique combination of accommodation, tailored support and a relationship with a Shared Lives carer and a clear focus on building new networks and communities."