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