On World Homeless Day (10 October) a Coventry man is sharing his experience of alcohol addiction and thanking our homelessness charity for helping him change his life.

Dean Wood (44) has now turned his life around after alcoholism led to years of sleeping rough: “I was 15 when my problems with addiction began. At that time, alcohol was what made me feel good. I ended up leaving home and from then on, I was on my own.”

As his addiction worsened, Dean lived without a place to call home: “I would not wish homelessness on anybody. You learn to adapt to survive but it’s very hard. At the end of the day, I’d pick a spot for the night and crash out. It wasn’t living, it was existing.

“One day I reached a turning point. I didn’t want to be that person anymore. I decided I needed to change my life.”

Dean reached out and received help from a specialist rehab centre, working hard to battle his addiction. After three years of being clean, he felt ready to take the next step and so secured a place at Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire. Our homelessness charity, based in Binley, has given him a place to live and the support he needs:

“It felt like a fresh start; I had a home for as long as I needed it.”

Our charity provides a home and meaningful work for 18 people who have experienced homelessness and social exclusion. Some stay for a few months as they gain confidence and skills before they are ready to move on to independent living; others are in need of longer-term support and are able to stay for as long as they need to.

Dean is now hopeful for the future and grateful for the support he has received: “They’ve always got time for me here and I feel accepted. Emmaus has given me a chance to pause and think about what’s next. With their help, I’m looking into training opportunities. I’m up for anything that can better my chances. I can reflect back on the person that I once was, but that’s not who I am now. I’m so pleased I made that decision to change my life.”

If you have been inspired by Dean’s story and want to help our charity, it can be as simple as donating unwanted furniture or picking up a bargain at our second-hand furniture shop on Red Lane in Coventry. Ways you can support Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire