Melanie's Story

Melanie is a black woman in her forties. After a neglected childhood she was homeless in her teens. She spent the next 20 years in a cycle of homelessness, psychiatric hospital and prison, exacerbated by drug use and all that goes with it.

Wish has been supporting Melanie for 2 years, during which time she has been in hospital once and prison twice. Due to the length of time Melanie has been homeless it was very difficult for her to make the mental adjustment to being housed and having regular money from benefits. It was also difficult for professionals working with her to understand the impact this has had on her and see that what appeared to be little progress was in fact major change for her.

Melanie now lives in a hostel and sleeps there 5 nights a week – a major change.
Melanie has not used drugs for 9 months.
Melanie now has money in her pocket and is up to date with hostel charges.
Melanie has signed up for a beauty course to start soon.
Melanie has undertaken voluntary work at Wish once a week doing admin.
Melanie attends all her appointments with all agencies involved.

Wish has looked for creative ways to encourage her hopes and ambitions. For example, when told by Probation she would not be able to sell cosmetics because of her 70 previous convictions, Wish procured funding for a small starter pack of cosmetics and arranged an in house evening event for her to demonstrate products. This has led to sales and has raised her self confidence and showed her she can succeed.

Melanie has benefited from the consistency of support as Wish was able to see her every week whether she was in hospital, prison or the community. Wish has also accompanied her to court. This has been a major factor in her recovery as it is perhaps the first consistent relationship she has had. She said:

I was expecting you to give up on me when I went back into prison again. Thank you for helping me to believe in myself and treating me like a human.