Tom's Story

– Tom, 69 years old

Tom* is a 69 year old male originally from Clydebank. Tom left home at the age of 18 after the death of his father.

Tom’s stated that he did not understand how to manage a household so therefore following the death of his father, returned the keys to the council and made his way to London. Tom then spent the next 49 years living a transient lifestyle across the UK and Ireland. During this time Tom* visited most of the major cities accessing hostels and day centres when needed, sleeping rough and picking up work where possible.

Tom found it overwhelming to settle in one place for any length of time and sporadically engaged with case management although only superficially.

During this period of time tom was a victim of modern slavery in the form of forced labour. Unfortunately this form of modern slavery is common amongst vulnerable people experiencing homelessness, with the promise of paid work and accommodation but resulting in very poor accommodation, forced labour, mental abuse and usually physical abuse and usually in a remote environment or remote businesses. Tom managed to escape form this situation by saving tips he was given by people who his labour was hired out to (tarmacking, roofing, etc) and then escaping in the middle of the night from the area he was kept at.

Tom first contact on the Chain database was 2005 (although could have been known prior to this with client contacts being mandatory reported by commissioned services on CHAIN database since 2005).

Due to Tom* being a long term rough sleeper he was identified as an RS205 in 2009 which as the name implies, the project identified 205 rough sleepers who were considered a priority because they had been seen sleeping rough in five or more years out of the last 10, and/or ‘been seen rough sleeping 50 times or more over that period’.

Tom was referred in 2014 and began being supported by Alex. Alex made a referral to the Lodge at St Ursula’s (which is a specific service for clients identified as RS205). Tom settled there for a period of time but once again became overwhelmed and a pattern formed of periods of time settled at the Lodge before once again leaving and sleeping rough in various parts of the UK and Ireland. Throughout this time The Lodge and Scotscare worked together to ensure that Tom was always able to go back to the Lodge and support was always made available to him when he returned.

In 2017 John had once again left The Lodge and was sleeping rough in London, John was unfortunately found outside Victoria coach station passed out and taken to hospital with internal bleeding and then suffered a heart attack while receiving surgery. This incident left Tom with scared for his health and he came to release who could no longer live the lifestyle he had been living.

Tom settled at the Lodge and engaged positively with a case management plan. As time passed Tom expressed his wishes to have his own tenancy, a referral was made to ScotsCare. Tom was supported to go to Rosthsey Court to visit and see if it was somewhere he could see himself living, Tom expressed how he would like to live there. A large period of time went into supporting Tom to ensure he felt ok about this transition as concerns where that he may return to his old pattern. The decision was left with Tom to decide when he would like to make the move. There was approx. a year between the referral being made and Tom advising Scottish Outreach that he was ready to take the move.

Plans were put in place to facilitate the move with ongoing support being provided by Scottish Outreach and ScotsCare staff organised furniture to be paid for and delivered for the tenancy. Scottish Outreach assisted Tom to move on the day and continue to offer psychosocial support weekly to maintain tenancy, moving into a tenancy for any person who has experienced rough sleeping can be an overwhelming, lonely and isolating experience, so it is vital support is offered after securing a tenancy. Tom also meets with a volunteer each week from the Home for Good programme at The Passage.

If you are able to support fellow Scots like Tom at this time, please visit our donations page.

*Names have been changed to protect the confidentiality of our clients

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