I’ve been homeless on and off since I was 18. The first time I came to Emmaus Dover was just after I had split up with my ex. The end of my relationship sent me over the edge, I was in a bad state and used drugs to take away the reality.

It was degrading being homeless. It was the not knowing where I was going to sleep that night, whether it was going to be cold or wet or where my next meal was coming from. I dropped from 10 to seven stone because I just wasn’t eating and taking drugs all the time. I stayed in a supported hostel for a few years, but most people staying there are either on drugs or alcohol. I started to associate with those kinds of people and got sucked down even further with them. The support offered was lacking in most places. I thought as I was on probation it would help me find a place quickly, but I felt like no one was taking me seriously. I was turning up to community service with my suitcase. I must have been the only person to have ever done that, but I needed them to listen to me.

I eventually went to Forward Trust and begged them to help me find a place to live. They gave me a list of local landlords and as I turned to the back page, there was Emmaus, right at the bottom. I had never even heard about them before but after a phone call and an interview, I was accepted into the community. My first time at Emmaus lasted about 10 months. I felt like I was starting to get my life back on track. My ex and my boy came up every other weekend and she could see that I was turning my life around and getting it back on track. She suggested we got back together which lasted two and a half years. I managed to get myself a job on the dust carts, but I wasn’t ready, and things got too much, which resulted in me losing my job. I left Emmaus on good terms last time, so I knew that they would welcome me back with open arms. Luckily, there was one room left so I grasped it with both hands.

I’ve always been a happy go lucky guy, but I’m even happier now I’m back at Emmaus because I know I can get my life back on track. I’m a community assistant, which includes extra responsibilities such as locking up the buildings at night, and I greet new companions and make sure they’re settling in. If any companions want to talk to someone they can come and talk to me. I’m an easy-going person and I’m always making jokes or doing silly voices. If anyone is down or miserable then I’m always there for them. I’m thinking of doing a Drug Support Worker Course, as I’m a people person and I’ve been through it myself before; meaning my experience will stand me in good stead. All my life I’ve done manual jobs and grafted; I just want to do something different and meaningful with my life now.

Emmaus has done so much for me. It’s a good place to come if you want a fresh start. It might take a while but if you’re willing to do it then Emmaus is the place to help you achieve your goals. I’m in no rush to leave this time, I need to make sure that I’m ready. I just value every day and I’m just thankful that Emmaus was there when I needed them the most.