09.08.2017 793 XX
"If someone had told me that later on in life I would be homeless I would have swear blind - never. You can never expect it. It just happens.
I came home to London from my mother’s funeral in Barbados in 2000. It took me about six months to get back into work, but within 9 months of working I couldn’t afford to live on my salary. It felt like everything had skyrocketed over-night. The house prices and renting had gone up so much that I couldn’t afford to pay rent and keep myself clothed and fed at the same time.
I started staying at my sister’s house but that wasn’t convenient at all because they shared together already. I wanted my own place but I found it really hard to raise my deposit and I was in a real rut, there was no way out. People can only help you for so long. You overstay your welcome. Your sofa surfing days are over.
I just buckled down and realized the reality of it. I couldn’t believe it. I was young, my life was flourishing. And out of the blue, I’m homeless.
Homelessness is a dog’s life. People scorn you. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. People try to adapt to it but I found it hard. I never realised how important a bed was, and sleeping was. Being able to stretch out. You just survive, by any means necessary. I was only homeless for three months but if it had gone on any longer I probably would have gone to prison.
I eventually got acquainted with some homeless people who told me about St Martins in the field in London, but by that time my big toe nail had a fungus and was ready to drop out. It’s started to heal now, but it was terrible. That homeless situation is no joke. I knew a lawyer who was homeless. Sleeping rough. How can that be? In an educated country, where education is the key, and a lawyer is homeless?
Things are looking better now. I'm in a hostel. I've got my painting and decorating course level one and I can get my CSCS card so I can work on the building sites. Soon as I move into my own flat I can start work properly."
By sharing stories we can change attitudes and build a movement for permanent, positive change. Stand against homelessness and help us end it for good.