“Usually in my life, I just work, work, work. Then one day, I lost everything.

Before I moved into Emmaus Dover, about a month ago now, I lost my job. The COVID-19 situation was a big problem for me. I am asthmatic, so working with a mask on was not possible. It made me feel ill, which meant I was in and out of work a lot, and I couldn’t go on like that. This was a hard time for me and I started really worrying about my future.

I had been living on the streets in France for about three months when I first found out about Emmaus Dover. I used to stay at a night shelter in Marseille, not far from the city centre. I liked Marseille, but I didn’t want to spend my whole life on the streets with no money, no family support. I wanted to do some good in the world and make something of myself, so after a while I started thinking ‘what’s next?’.

Every day I would go to the library to use the internet, which was free for one hour, and that was where I saw a poster of Emmaus Dover. I liked the look of the community there, so one of my truck driver friends gave me the money to buy a ferry ticket and I just followed my hope to Dover. I arrived knowing only 25 to 30 words in English, but the staff at Emmaus understood my problem and they knew how to support me.

Being homeless changed my point of view on things. About work, about people. I started thinking differently. Now, I can look after my asthma and work without a mask on, I’m learning English, and I get to help people. I’m happy here. I feel at home.

Everyone at Emmaus Dover is very nice and I really enjoy living with the other companions. I have some great friends now. I think the area is very good for me, too. I love the sea views! My job in the community is to drive the vans and do collections and deliveries for customers, as that’s what I’m experienced in.

We will see what happens, but for the first time in my life, I have a dream. Emmaus Dover has given me a home and the chance to start a new life. It’s a very special place for me.”