Safe to say the year 2020 has been rocky for everyone, but for someone with no fixed abode it is particularly difficult.
It’s been a tough year, having had a short-term tough relationship, several heartbreaking losses (one being the death of my sister), losing my job and accommodation in the space of an hour and lock down rules making certain places no longer an option, I felt massively overwhelmed with little hope.
It felt like it was one thing after another and this in turn impacted my mental health. I found myself making bad choices, spending time with people up to no good and turned to excessive alcohol drinking and developing a poor attitude towards my physical health.
Over 6 months on and off I was sofa surfing, which is very unsettling and sadly becoming very common. Some nights I stayed over the bridge with family and some nights, I didn’t sleep at all. When I had nowhere sorted to go or if last minute, I wasn’t able to stay where I had arranged, I would find myself walking from one end of Hull to the other. The longest time spent consecutively with nowhere to go, setting off late from houses and slow walking across Hull, was 3 nights. It isn’t even a long period of time, but it really put into perspective just how easy it is for anyone to find themselves with nowhere to go.
I was extremely vague about my situation to friends and family as I was ashamed of my circumstances. I was fortunate to have friends who let me stay, predominantly I stayed at my close friends. It became increasingly difficult when lock down rules became stricter and certain sectors had to close; between us we struggled to pay rent, most days we barely had any food. After several weeks, we both ended up in Bradford to step away from bad influences. When there, I knew Bradford was only short term and my friend was moving with her dad, so I started to carry out some research and that’s when I came across Emmaus.
The first contact I called the was the support team. After the logistics and answering some questions, I was granted a room. I moved in in June and on arrival I had to isolate for 1 week. I loved my week in isolation, it gave me a solid week to recuperate, rest and gather my thoughts. I was nervous about my first day but quickly I found my feet. The other companions there were so welcoming and continue to be great people to live with. I was given a taste in most areas and often doing a different role every day. The main change was getting back into a routine and this has helped me to regain my confidence and look forward to the future. The team eventually put me through my Level 2 Food and Hygiene, and I started cooking for the other companions. The skills I have developed here have had such a positive impact on my well-being. Soon after I started on the Outreach team. It is like no job I have ever encountered before. Bizarrely I had previously had an interview for a role at Emmaus and now I have gained the experiences needed to get the job.
Now that I am a member of the Outreach team I look back at my journey and can’t believe how different this time last year was for me. I have undertaken lots of training which will be beneficial for any future roles. The role is for 6 months with the potential of it being extended in due course. I am looking forward to Christmas at The Orchard and what’s yet to come and will be looking at moving out of Emmaus and into my own place at the beginning of next year.
My confidence has developed rapidly and I owe this to the joint efforts of all the staff at Emmaus.