We featured Paula in our Connect magazine three years ago. At that point she had recently moved into a new flat on leaving prison. This had followed a ten-year cycle of addiction, prison and homelessness.
Three years on and Paula is in a permanent flat, has stopped drinking and has a seven-month-old son with her partner.
Paula says, “Normally when I got out of prison I would have been back on the streets, but I haven’t been in jail since I got the flat. I don’t think I’d have gone back to jail without the flat, but I would still be drinking and using drugs. It’s challenging having a wean but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Waiting all this time for the house was the only bad thing.”
Relationships are at the heart of what we do at Glasgow City Mission, and Linda has been working alongside Paula for more than four years. Paula says, “It’s easy to talk to her about things, and she always helps if I need help with phonecalls.”
Now that Paula is in her permanent accommodation she says, “I want to get my driving licence. I want to go to college.” She also plans to start reducing her methadone usage and says, “I don’t even think about heroin now. I’ll never go back [to homelessness and addiction]. I couldn’t.”
Paula was part of the City Ambition Network (CAN), of which Glasgow City Mission was a founding member. CAN works intensively with people with multiple and complex needs, including homelessness, so they can access and maintain suitable accommodation. Linda is Paula’s CAN key worker and worked hard to ensure she had accommodation coming out of prison.
This month Paula has become the first person to graduate from the CAN project. Linda says, “Paula has moved on in many ways and is sustaining life in her permanent home with her son and partner John. It has been a four-year journey of transformation. She has put in a lot of hard work and it’s been a pleasure to walk with her every step of her journey.
“Paula would like to go to college in August to do beauty therapy and hairdressing which we are both looking into. Even though Paula has graduated from CAN, I’ll keep visiting her and help her to link into local services in her area and with her college applications.”
Please join us in praying for Paula as she brings up her son and researches beauty schools.
Read our original story about Paula in the summer 2016 issue of Connect.