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Stephen and Louise

9th February 2022

Sanctuary Supported Living

Residents standing together outside of Victoria House, showing off an engagement ring.

Supported housing has given Stephen and Louise sound and stable footing for a happy future together.

Whilst battling their own difficulties – Stephen, an alcohol problem, and Louise, substantial rent arrears - Stephen and Louise found love on the streets of Manchester in 2017. For twelve months whilst they searched for safety and security, suitable accommodation was only accessible if they agreed to live separately, as part of the single, homeless adults’ pathway service – even though they were couple.

When Stephen was first referred to Sanctuary Supported Living’s Victoria House, he told project workers that he was in a relationship with girlfriend, Louise. The supported housing service, which provides accommodation to adults that are homeless and in need of temporary housing and support, understood that being with Louise was a key part of Stephen’s identity. His hopes for the future were about being with the person he loved, and staff at Victoria House recognised that supporting Stephen on his own would not likely be enough.

The team got in touch with Stephen’s referral agency to ask if they would also refer Louise to Sanctuary Supported Living. After her support needs had been assessed, Louise was offered a place at Victoria House. The pair were thrilled to finally live together, as a couple.

United and feeling stronger, they worked with staff to facilitate some positive outcomes. For Stephen and Louise, this meant kicking the alcohol addiction, agreeing a payment plan to clear the arrears, and after four years of progress…Stephen proposed! The couple are now engaged to be married and waiting to bid for a general needs’ property as they make plans for a lifetime together.

"Supported housing allowed us to explore our relationship as a couple, before making the commitment to be with each other for the rest of our lives."

Stephen, Customer

“If people like us are homeless and facing adversity with multiple needs, experiencing love and companionship is really important. Relationships are a human need - just like any other support need - but it’s a need that is rarely met in homelessness services.

“We're happier and we feel so much more secure. We’re looking forward to a future together.

“We’d like to say a big thank you to all the staff at Victoria House for their help and support. They’ve helped make our engagement possible. We hope to tie the knot next year at a small wedding with family and friends.”