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Job description: chief executive at GLASGOW SIMON COMMUNITY

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Areas of interest: Housing and homelessness – services for women with complex needs

LORRAINE MCGRATH's Recent Activity

"Glasgow Simon Community works across a range of homelessness need, we have three services focused specifically on providing emergency responses and long term resettlement support for women. This post reflects the story of one woman who found herself in need. NR IS a 26 year old woman who has been in homelessness since leaving care at 16 years. She had been abandoned by her mother as a young child and had been fostered and moved approximately 13 times. She has had chronic alcohol problems since she was around 12 years old and had been in and out of prison throughout her adult life. She had been involved in several abusive and violent relationships resulting in her being hospitalised numerous times .She had been sexually assaulted three times within the last two years alone. NR had not stayed longer than 3 months before being asked to leave homeless services within the last 5 years due to her level of drinking and threatening behaviour. NR came to the service under protest as she wished to stay in the service she had been in as she could consume alcohol there but had been asked to leave due to threatening behaviour against another service user. She had at some point that week been assaulted by her partner and had extensive injuries to her face and hands. The initial priority was to have her injuries attended to then staff worked on accessing information on services that she may wish to receive support from if and when she was ready to. Staff then concentrated on emotionally supporting her with her trauma and devising a person centred care package that was led by NR that had a harm reduction approach to her alcohol usage. Staff worked alongside NR external support networks and advocated on her behalf at service reviews, court appearances and appointments. NR reported that in previous services staff had not been allowed to support her to appointments due to her level of drinking and aggressive behaviour. NR has now been supported by the service for 6 months, has reduced her alcohol use dramatically due to harm reduction approach taken to support her with her alcohol use. This has resulted in fewer aggressive tendencies and threats, improved eating and sleep pattern and fewer arrests and pending court appearances. She is also attending health appointments and has accessed Victim Support and receiving a service from Community Safety Police. She has just recently shown an interest in a college course or voluntary work. NR recognises that she may require support when she moves on from the service but is now happy to engage with this."
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