Emmaus never said I had to leave because I couldn’t work, I could still stay as long as I needed, but I knew it was time to move on.

Moving out

I’ve been at Emmaus Greenwich for 12 and a half years. Six years ago, I tried to find accommodation through the council, but all they could offer was a place in the middle of nowhere. There was no transport, nothing, so I couldn’t take it.

I didn’t mind this at the time, as I really enjoy giving back to the community by working and living at Emmaus. But unfortunately I have bad arthritis in my feet which is getting worse every day. It eventually got too much for me. I can’t do a full day’s work anymore. Emmaus never said I had to leave because I couldn’t work, they made it clear that I could still stay as long as I needed, but I knew it was time to move on. So I started actively bidding on flats again, and before I knew it, I got offered a place and had moved out within a week.

Support from Emmaus

Finding a flat and moving out in so little time was a bit much for me if I’m honest. It was a bit too quick. But it’s been good, because I’m still getting support from Emmaus 3 weeks after I moved out. I can’t go into the community in person all that often, because I need to take two buses and my feet make that difficult, but Clare, the Community Leader, calls me up every week to see how I’m doing. I really appreciate her support. Even just hearing her voice is great!

Emmaus is also helping me furnish my flat and finish settling in, which is proving to be a lot of work. They provided me with all the essential furniture and some things I bought myself, like the TV – Emmaus sold that to me at half price! I’m also getting a few other things from the council, which Emmaus is also helping me with. They are liaising with them on my behalf to get me a cooker at the moment.

A new start

It feels strange to have moved away after 12 years. Living alone is totally different, but I’m getting used to it. I now live in a newly decorated one-bedroom flat in a nice and quiet area that has all the necessary amenities nearby. I even know a couple of people in my apartment block – James, who used to work at Emmaus as the manager of the Lee shop, lives just upstairs, and someone I used to work with before Emmaus lives just down the hall. This makes it somewhat easier, because I’m not entirely on my own. It’s a small world!

I’m really going to miss Emmaus and the guys, and especially the camaraderie within the community. The way they help people, that’s why I was there for over 12 years. They’ve looked after me during the moving out process and I can still count on them now. I’m pleased to know that someone else has already moved into my old room at Emmaus, which means my move got them off the streets. I’m glad that they will be able to help someone else.

I would like to thank Emmaus for all their support, and specially Clare and Jean. They help you build up your self-esteem, give you a purpose. They’ve been great for me and helped me pull myself together. If it wasn’t for my feet, I would keep working here.

If you’ve ever supported Emmaus, thank you. Keep doing it. It’s a tough world out there, and you’re helping more than you know.

Read more about William’s time at Emmaus Greenwich here.