A housing officer has been praised for working with a vulnerable man who had isolated himself, with the man's brother saying the officer "saved my brother's life".

A man living in Altrincham named Joe, whose real name has not been given, had suffered with his mental health for many years, with housing playing a major part in his struggle.

He would neglect his home and hoard items, with his family becoming increasingly concerned about his wellbeing.

Joe was referred to his social landlord’s Housing Specialisms team at L&Q after repairs could not be carried out at his home due to issues with hoarding.

Rebecca Heale became Joe's housing officer and he was sceptical of her at first, refusing to let her into his home, as he did with most people.

However, Ms Heale provided Joe with the space to be listened to and heard, helping him come up with ideas for how to move things forward.

She said: "Through talking to Joe, I learnt that he felt let down by service providers.

"Social services deemed him to have no care and support needs and closed his case. As can happen with individuals with complex needs, it felt like Joe was slipping through the cracks.

"Joe said where he was living didn’t feel like his home - he believed he had been wrongly put there. He wanted a quiet life yet was living in the hustle and bustle of the city centre."

Ms Heale built a relationship with Joe by "striking a gentle tone" and reassuring him that progress could be made.

In May, she helped relocate Joe to a new home in Altrincham in a sheltered scheme for people over the age of 55.

Joe's brother Edmund said: "When the opportunity to move Joe arose, Rebecca helped in so many ways. She physically helped him move and persuaded him to hand his key back on the last day.

"I don’t think he would have handed it over to anyone else, me included."

Edmund said that since moving, Joe's health and outlook has improved, with Ms Heale saying Joe has "really settled" into his new home as she maintains contact with him.

Edmund said: "The level of trust Rebecca built with Joe was remarkable. 

"I genuinely believe that if Rebecca had not supported him so well, he would have removed himself from the process and been stuck with the same problems.

"Rebecca has saved my brother, and for that, we are so grateful."