Back in 2007 / 2008 I was working on a funfair, but I was also living with a bad addiction to cocaine and crack. I left the funfair after about six months.
I was then street homeless until about 2012. In the summer, when the weather was nice, I would sleep in a nature reserve on the outskirts of Maidenhead town centre. In the winter, and when it rained, I would sleep in a multi-storey carpark. I knew the cleaner there and he would wake me up in the mornings.
That was an incredibly hard time. I was just trying to live day-to-day while also coming off cocaine and crack at the same time with no support. I had got to the point where I knew I couldn’t go on the way I was. I knew I wouldn’t be here in a year’s time if I didn’t sort myself out. The saddest part is realising that there was more help available to me if I stayed on the drugs than when I came off them. That was a bit gutting.
In 2012 I was given a place in supportive housing for a couple of years and after that time they suggested I apply for a place at Emmaus. I filled out the form online and I ticked the box to say that I was happy to go to any Emmaus community, and the Sheffield community was the first to call me.
I was at Emmaus Sheffield for five years before coming to Emmaus Cambridge in March 2020, a week before the COVID-19 lockdown started.
I settled into Emmaus Cambridge quickly. In Sheffield I was working on the eBay store so after a few weeks I started to do the same for Emmaus Cambridge. My job involves photographing whatever items come in as donations and writing the draft descriptions for the listings on eBay. I then do all the packing side of things when things are sold.
I really enjoy photographing all the items and researching how much they are all worth. At the end of the first lockdown I was sorting through a box of books and researching them and came across one I thought looked interesting. It dated from the late 1800s / early 1900s so I thought it might be valuable. I took to the office for safe keeping and we got about £600 for it on eBay!
We sell job lots of CDs and DVDs which I help to sort out into bundles we can make up to £100 per bundle which is great.
Life at Emmaus is good, it’s really good. It’s a big community but I get on with everyone here. Lockdown hasn’t been too bad either. As I work on the eBay shop my work hasn’t changed too much. We are still selling lots on the site and I am busy with that sending out items to customers.
In the future I would like to start my own online selling business, doing my own eBay shop, buying in items in bulk and selling them on. But for now I am happy at Emmaus. My advice to anyone who finds themselves homeless is to try to find Emmaus if they can. I hadn’t heard of the charity before the supportive housing told me about it but it’s been good for me.