I lived at two places before I became homeless, which didn’t go too well. I lived with a friend and his cousin for seven months. My friend found out I needed a place to stay and took me in. I was on universal credit, but I got sanctioned and couldn’t pay the rent, and the situation couldn’t wait.

Then I was homeless. I was given a night in a hotel by my council, in another area where I didn’t know anyone. It was only for one night, so I spent the time trying to think of what to do. I had nowhere else to go: no friends, no family.

I ended up in a homeless shelter after the night in the hotel, but I could only stay there for ten days, then I needed to find somewhere else. This place referred me to Emmaus.

Running out of time

While I was being referred, I was sleeping rough for two nights. When I was on the streets, I was cold, worried and scared. I had that referral to Emmaus keeping me going, but at the time I felt like I was on my own. I was 22 years old when it happened. I had a lot of homeless people sitting with me for the night, which was really supportive, but that was it really. I was worried for my life. Anything could have happened when I was asleep.

People just passed me by when I was on the streets. Because I was recently homeless and wearing expensive-looking clothes, I don’t think anyone believed I was rough sleeping.

Then I worked a double shift at a bar and used my wages to pay for a hotel for two nights. All the while I was thinking of the appointment I had with Emmaus.

Finding relief at Emmaus

I feel relieved now I have been at Emmaus for a while. I am more confident in carrying out my roles for the community, now I know what to do. Companions have helped me, and support workers have helped me. I can check emails, help customers, support the van crew and I can help other people out.

I’m mostly on the shop floor, but I do other bits to help. I’m talking to customers and helping them out. I enjoy interacting with people.

If there’s a challenge with a customer, I find a way around it. That’s the same for people in the Emmaus community. If one person can’t lift something, you look at what they can do, before another companion steps in to help.

Everyone helps everyone else

The environment at the community home is good. It’s a good community with people doing things for each other. It works when everyone wants to work to benefit each other. I’m happy with it.

In my spare time I like playing pool with one of the other companions. We eat together, make each other brews and have a laugh.

It’s good living in a community home because there’s always someone you can speak to, as well as your support worker. Everyone helps everyone else.

Feeling more capable

I feel I’m getting my confidence back because of the other people I’m meeting. I’m learning from other people, from their skills. They encourage me by showing me what I’m capable of doing.

I have a good idea of what I want to do in future in my head, but I don’t want to put a promise on it just yet in case it doesn’t come true. When the time comes, I do feel that I would be supported by Emmaus to pursue this.

Before I came to Emmaus, I would always give food to homeless people. After the support I’ve had from Emmaus, I think it’s important just being there for people and being supportive, because not a lot of people have that. This is asking if you’ve had a good day and knowing someone is there. I speak to homeless people a lot more now and give people food and drink. I will always do that.

Being by people’s side

If there’s anything I want people to take away from this, it’s to respect people. Treat people how you want to be treated. If you see someone who is struggling, ask if they are okay. Mentally or physically be by their side and know what they need to help with what’s going on.

Emmaus is a good charity. I hope a lot of people find out more about Emmaus and donate or want to come and get support. There are a lot of lovely people at Emmaus and everyone is there for everyone no matter what.

If you would like support from Emmaus, find out more on our Get Support page and download an application form.