Phil's story. "Crisis has been a godsend."

I buried my son last year, 7 days before Christmas. He was 20 and he was autistic, he hung himself a couple of weeks after his 20th birthday. It’s not a nice world for people with autism. For him he couldn’t adjust. Nasty people and bullies.
 
Some guys preyed on me, came to my home, and at this stage I was about 8 stone, and they were beating me regularly. On one occasion they attacked me outside my home, and some witnesses saw this and saved me. Police came and saved me. I had to walk away from my home of 10 years, all my possessions, clothes, everything gone. And police are dealing with it, and that’s why I’m in a safe place now. It was horrific.

I’m getting support from Crisis to get a home up here. They’re very helpful. They helped me to get a passport and ID because I lost everything. It’s been a godsend for me actually, Crisis.
 
I came to Crisis at Christmas last year and had a really smashing time. I’m a stranger in this area. I come from the North West and I’d have been isolated on my own otherwise. I attend Crisis quite often and I get a lot from it. I go to the arts classes and mindfulness, and positive things. It’s really helpful Crisis. And I volunteer occasionally for them.
 
Honestly the attention given to me, and people’s time, and the atmosphere, it’s invaluable. People’s self-esteem is built up when things like this take place. They’re so used to being on the street and walked over, completely ignored, can you imagine what that does to a person’s self worth and esteem. They feel invisible, not worthy of conversation, just have to survive. So thank the lord for places like Crisis and the people here and for events like these.
 
I moved up here in March. I’m in a safe house and the staff there introduced me to Crisis. I was made to feel safe and the staff were brilliant. I’m a professional myself, I worked for the Care Quality Commission for several years, doing inspections in hospitals. And I was a senior outreach worker in Manchester, not just for rough sleepers, but entrenched rough sleepers with complex needs. So I did that for several years.
 
There was a festival I volunteered at with Crisis (Lindesfarn) and collected money for them in a bucket. Made over a grand. I was glad to give back, because I’m good at that. I’m not a show off but if it’s a great casue such as Crisis, who have been helpful to myself but I would have done it anyway for my affinity with homeless people. I had 50 clients in Manchester and regularly took them indoors and saved lives, and they loved me. If it wasn’t for my tragedy, I’d still be doing that. Some people may be lost without me.
 
I wanted to end it all to be truthful, but it didn’t work out, it wasn’t meant to be, and even though they’re just at the other end of the phone, I have responsibilities, I need to be there for my daughter. And I know that now. So I need to get a place here and get them up here. I want to get a home where I can get some privacy and allowed to have visitors. I miss my daughter and grandchild and their mother.
 
I get moments when I switch off and cocoon myself. People don’t read me very well, they leave me to fester. But I’m an injured puppy, just need a bit of attention maybe. I’m trying to get the support and help, and I’m very grateful.

There’s a service here called Talking matters, like a counselling/mental health service, and I’ve finally got accepted on to their books, so I was talking to my new mental health nurse and she’s going to support me to get a home.

I was in touch with a previous manager about getting my CV. I’ve lost everything and can’t even get on my emails. I’d like to get back into that work again.

I’m building again to get back into work but it’s a process. I need to get my head sorted. I’m a good person, and I don’t deserve all this. But there is a future, I do have plans. I’ve just completed 2 medicals, for my PIP and benefits, so that was positive. I want to get a home.

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.