Our companion Paul (56) needed stability and a place to live, after rough sleeping for many years.
On World Homeless Day (10 October 2023) he is sharing his experience and thanking our homelessness charity Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire for helping him get back on his feet.
When Paul’s marriage ended, he moved out of the family home but had nowhere to go and was unable to work:
“As a single man, I found there wasn’t much support available; I did try living in hostels and it wasn’t a good experience. When I went out each morning I didn’t know if my room would be broken into: nothing felt safe. In the end, I thought I’d be better off rough sleeping; I felt safer on the streets.”
Paul was homeless for many years:
“I did my best to look after myself. I would visit day centres where I could get washed, clean my clothes and have something to eat. I had a sleeping bag and if it was cold and raining, I’d find shelter in a park or somewhere else hidden away. I knew which areas to avoid because they’re not so safe.”
In 2017, Paul found out about our homelessness charity Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire, got in touch, and moved in soon after. We are a Coventry-based charity which provides accommodation, support, and meaningful work for up to 17 people who have experienced homelessness. Some stay for a while as they gain confidence and skills before they are ready to move on to independent living; others need longer-term support and can stay for as long as they need to.
Paul now has a more stable life, until he feels ready to move on:
“I’ve got my own room and my stuff is safe when I leave each morning. One of the good things is that I’m not just sitting around watching TV all day like I would in a hostel: I’ve got something to do. I help run the charity’s shop and warehouse. If I left Emmaus and applied for a job and they asked me what I’ve been doing, I could tell them I’ve been working. I’ve not just sat there and done nothing: I’ve got skills.”
If you have been inspired by Paul’s story and want to help our charity, contact us to find out how you can get involved. It can be as simple as donating unwanted furniture or picking up a bargain at our second-hand shop on Red Lane in Coventry.