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Reform Magazine | February 22, 2018

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I am… an ex-rough sleeper

I am… an ex-rough sleeper

Our columnist describes life as a rough sleeper

After having my own place and starting my own business, I had to move back in with my parents. There was a family bereavement, which had a massive effect. I was very dedicated to my business but my parents did not support the lifestyle I had got myself into. They said: ‘Get a real job or pack your bags.’ I chose to pack my bags.

I slept rough. I thought: ‘I don’t want to do this’ but it was that or nothing. You wake up with frost on your blanket and think: ‘What has life come to?’ My friend took me to the council, who referred me to the Salvation Army. A lot of people are sceptical about the Salvation Army, but their team was outstanding. They sent me to Arc Light, a homelessness centre in York. I spent three months on their crash pad, a room of ten or 12 camp beds where you can sleep if you need to. I arrived clueless but they have an outstanding team. Arc Light has a stigma and it’s not perfect, but it taught me a lot and has given me so much insight into how things work. The staff have access to all the services you could need. I would not be here now without it.

I met with someone from Restore, a local housing project for homeless people, and got a room through them. If they see something they can help you with, they give you that option and help set things up. It’s like having a friend or a mentor really. Anne, one of the staff, said: ‘Don’t win the battle to lose the war,’ and I have started living by that. Now, a friend and I say that to each other all the time…

This month’s ‘I am…’ is anonymous

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This is an extract from an article that was published in the February 2018 edition of  Reform

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Comments

  1. jennie crane

    Here at Castle Hill URC, we have been working with the homeless for the last 5 years. We run a drop in on a Tuesday evening and feed 70+ folk. I am also Chaplain to Street Church..
    It would be great to do an interview with you to get the work out there.

    • Reform

      Thanks for getting in touch Jennie. Have you thought about applying for the Community Awards scheme (see https://urc.org.uk/awards)? I will let the Editor know about your message. – from Charissa, Production Officer

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