The Life of PIE

YPeopleIn the first installment of this year’s Homeless Spotlight feature, Ypeople, the trading name of YMCA Glasgow, showcases its ground breaking Pathways service in South Lanarkshire, which supports people with highly complex needs and is the first service in Scotland to be based on the principle of a psychologically informed environment.

Renzo Cardosi at the launch of the Pathways service
Renzo Cardosi at the launch of the Pathways service

Renzo Cardosi is Ypeople’s Operations and Business Manager. He is responsible for managing the Ypeople Pathways project, where people who have experienced homelessness and have multiple and complex needs are supported in one of Scotland’s first Psychologically Informed Environment’s (PIE) and through wraparound Reach Out community support.

It’s a cold January morning in East Kilbride and the memory of Christmas lingers in the air. As I approach the Pathways HUB I can see through the reinforced glass doors into the atrium and beyond, through the large window, into the staff office. Katie, one of the Senior Support Workers, pops her head up and she waves hello.

Until recently, the atrium of this building was a dark, bleak place. When a visitor or resident arrived they would be buzzed into a drab corridor with an almost institutional feel, where they waited for a staff member to walk from the office at the opposite side of the building. If a resident was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, staff often felt nervous about what they would find when they opened the door; residents were frustrated, and tensions were high. Unsurprisingly, this small room was the source of the vast majority of incidents recorded within the service.

I wave hello back to Katie and let myself in. The atrium is now unrecognisable from that cold corridor. A large window – dubbed the Welcome Window – has been installed in the wall facing the door, allowing staff to see out, and service users to see in. Through the window I can see that Katie is having a meeting with two of her colleagues. There is a large, comfy couch, pictures on the walls, and music can be heard faintly from the radio. Since changing the layout of the atrium, incidents here have halved.

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