Actually, I’ve been here two weeks. I probably won’t be here longer than a year. But it’s home.
The last month has been a nightmare with packing, unpacking, finding my way around a valley I hardly ever visited, trying to set up a routine, deal with crime and antisocial behaviour, and getting to know my neighbours who mostly have lifestyles even more chaotic than my own.
I live in a supported housing project. The support workers are based nearby in a building that houses tenants who need onsite support. In a way I’m glad I didn’t get housed in the building that has onsite support because whilst it’s more regimented there, it’s a lot busier and noisier with people coming and going. Here I have a place that I can finally call my own and for once I have more space than I actually need. I have the reassurance of being able to call the project for help if I need it and they call me most days to see if I’m OK. I also see a support worker face to face at least once a week to review my support plan. They also offer the same kind of daily activities that I used to be able to access where I used to live. Some days of the week the agency that I used to use for day services picks up in this area so I can still keep in touch.
Downstairs neighbour likes loud music, but he’s hardly ever here so he’s probably going to be evicted soon. He said when he last spoke to me that he knows he’s loud and encouraged me to ask him to turn it down. On the other hand the housing project said that I should avoid him and that they only visit him in pairs. From talking to him it seems he has no impulse control and no remorse for his extensive criminal record so probably sociopathic and best avoided.
I can see why the housing association has sublet the flats to a housing project for people who have little say in where they were placed. There are 7 flats in a purpose-built block built in the 1980s in an area of terraced shop fronts and chapels with land to the rear. As a result the block consists of an archway to the courtyard to the rear which is used for residential parking and drying clothes. There are flats either side of the archway and a flat above the archway. Unfortunately this means that anti-social youths from further up the valley have started hanging out here, having been displaced by policing where they live. They started out in the archway, but with access to the skip in the courtyard containing all the waste from renovating the flats they built a shelter in the courtyard which they have used to get drunk and deal drugs. We tolerated them as long as they behaved themselves, but after they tried to wreck the place several times I finally met my quiet neighbour. He destroyed the shelter and they’ve hardly been back since. Now though the project has installed CCTV so my quiet neighbour and I no longer have to be the unofficial neighbourhood watch.
Now I am home.