Lloyd was homeless in the middle of lockdown, with nowhere to stay. He was forced into homelessness just before Christmas, because support hadn’t been put in place to ensure he had somewhere to live when he left prison.
Homeless during the pandemic
“I had no phone, no one to call, and nowhere to stay. I was worried about being on the streets. With coronavirus out there, I was even more anxious knowing my lung condition made me more exposed.”
Then Lloyd found his local Crisis centre. The Crisis coach made sure Lloyd had somewhere safe to stay for Christmas – and that he’d receive ongoing support to leave homelessness behind, for good.
“My Crisis coach understood my circumstances. He made me feel human again, you know what I mean? It felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders dealing with the staff at Crisis - it was phenomenal. There was hope. There was a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Experiencing a Crisis Christmas
Over Christmas, Lloyd stayed in one of the hotels run by Crisis. He had his own room, good food and a smartphone to stay connected with Crisis for advice on housing and benefits.
“They gave me a welcome pack with food, drinks, and showed me to my room! The cup of human kindness just overflowed from every person – it was unreal. I will never forget that Christmas.
“To get a knock on the door of my hotel room on Christmas morning and get a Christmas card and a small present wrapped up. It may sound so simple, but it made me feel human again.”
Crisis gave Lloyd a smartphone so he could access support. “It’s another little lifeline. Everything’s done on the internet now. I’ve got access to my housing officer, to my Universal Credit account and I’ve been able to communicate with my Crisis coach.
“The team at Crisis were sending me information about housing while I was in the hotel and managed to get me a place in emergency accommodation, so that I’d have somewhere safe to stay after leaving the hotel.”
Through being able to use one of Crisis’ year-round centres as a ‘care of address’, Lloyd was able to get a new bank card. “Without an address you’re sort of locked out of society. It’s another stumbling block that I would have been up against if I hadn’t found Crisis, especially in the middle of a pandemic.”
Finding a permanent home
Just a few months later, with ongoing support from Crisis, Lloyd found a new, permanent home and moved out of the emergency accommodation.
“My support worker has been so supportive in trying to find me the right accommodation to help me move out of the unsuitable place I was in. Now I’ve got a one bedroom flat, and I’ve even got a bath! I went out got some shopping, came home, unpacked it all and I stood by the kitchen counter just looking at the flat thinking ‘wow’. I just felt like I’d arrived. It was a fresh start. It really was an amazing feeling.
“With the help that Crisis has given me, and the hurdles that they’ve helped me overcome, I feel human again. That’s how Crisis make you feel. I’m no longer an outsider on the outskirts, not just a statistic, not someone that the council have to be dealing with, not ‘homeless’. I’ve arrived now. I’ve got my flat and I’ve got my self-worth back. You feel like you’re worthwhile when you’re a part of society again. I’m in a really good place now.
“Now I’ve got a bit of time, because I’m not permitted to work at the moment because of the pandemic and my lung condition, and I’ve actually started writing a book. It’s a bit of a biography, getting down all those stories.
“When you’re homeless, it feels like you’re treading water. There are points where you just want to stop moving and sink.
Everyone has a right to a home
“Everyone has a right to a home. Crisis helps put that in your mind and you start believing in yourself. You feel worthy.
“Thank you to all the supporters because, you know, every little bit you do, it goes such a long way.”
Find out more about our Crisis at Christmas campaign and how you can help to change someone's life this year.
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.