Living proof that the process works.
Binnur (placement student) and Philip (housed in Jan 2016)
Philip began life in the small Irish town of Tipperary. Aged just 15, he travelled to London via the luggage compartment of a coach – arriving at Victoria. He had decided to move to London after realising there was not much work in Ireland and to move away from the wrong crowd he was with the time. He began working within a week – working from job to job as he travelled through the city. For him, London was an exciting place with so much to see and do.
After many years of working and building a family in London, Philip became homeless following a relationship breakdown and began sleeping rough in a car he owned and occasionally staying at friend’s homes. This lasted for 2 and a half years and he describes the experience as being ‘very traumatic and eye opening’. Like many of us, he never thought he would be the one to fall into a position where he lost his home and had nowhere he could be safe.
While sleeping rough, Philip experienced the stigma of being homeless which brings a feeling of isolation from others. He says, “people look at homeless people like they are dirt”. The homeless are 13 times more likely to be a victim of crime and 47 more likely to be a victim of theft. He did his best to stay out of trouble by keeping to himself as much as possible. Over time the experience began to take its toll and eventually he started drinking heavily as a means of escaping from reality. On one occasion, he began drinking with a group, which ended in a fight that Philip was not a part of but witnessed. After this, he slowly gave up drinking as he thought “this is not the way.”
Despite the pressures of his situation, Philip stayed strong and positive – he didn’t just give up. He kept himself going through these rough times by praying and always having faith in that things will soon get better. After contacting a homeless centre, Philip was picked up from his car and taken to a homeless shelter called ‘No second night out’. He describes the experience of staying at the Hub as very scary. In a big room, you find a space on the floor and lay out your sleeping bag and get to sleep. You are surrounded by a room full of people all sleeping on the floor like you. The room is mixed with the smell of everyone sleeping there as well as the snoring sounds of sleepers so it is far from comfortable. His stay here lasted 3 weeks, after which he was referred to Hope Worldwide. After the appointment at the HOPE office he left with a ’good feeling’ of having his own place soon. Philip waited a week before he was housed and was able to move in. He was very grateful for the quick process and overjoyed that he had his own small space to cook, shower and sleep.
Philip feels that having his own place to stay that makes him feel safe and secure and is a big step forward in rebuilding his life. He is now looking to build on his current skills as a qualified electrician by attending college to gain a testing certificate and then go back to work. As well as moving his career forward, he is looking to rebuild the damage homelessness has done to the relationship with his children because when he was homeless it was difficult to remain in contact.
After experiencing homelessness, Philip has learnt to never take anything for granted and to be grateful for everything he has;he helps people that are street homeless by offering them advice, directing them the right way and by telling his story so that they can have faith that they too can rebuild their lives. Philip believes that nobody should not be looked down on because of their situation – “people are people and nobody deserves to be homeless”.
As Philip himself proudly states: “I am living proof that the process works.”
To help more people like Philip, why not take part in our sponsored walk on Sat April 16th. See http://www.everydayhero.co.uk/event/TwoStep2016 to register.