Ahead of World Homeless Day (10 October 2021) Shaun is sharing his experience and thanking our Hinckley homelessness charity Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland for helping to turn his life around.

A few years ago Shaun (now 33) lost a close relation: “It really affected me. I just went off the rails without family support and started hanging around with the wrong people. My life sort of spiralled from there, and I ended up homeless for seven months. I mostly slept on the streets or in hostels. I was in a rut that I couldn’t get out of. It was worse when the temperature dropped. Rough sleeping over Christmas was really hard; I was cold and miserable.”

Shaun eventually reached out and got a place at the Emmaus community in Coventry, where he was offered accommodation and support. He has since moved to join Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland: “Emmaus saved my life. They’ve given me my own room as well as the support I need. I’ll never have to sleep rough again. I’m also bipolar, so they’ve made sure I have access to medication and right now I’m in a good place with my mental health too.”

Emmaus Leicestershire & Rutland provides a home, support and meaningful work to 16 formerly homeless individuals. Some stay for a while as they gain confidence and skills before they feel ready to move on to independent living; others are in need of longer-term support and are able to stay with us for as long as they need to. Funds are raised through our two Hinckley charity shops: the Emmaus Emporium on Stockwell Head and La Boutique on Castle Street.

Shaun often helps to run our van service, delivering and collecting donated furniture and also works to prepare donated items for the shop floor: “I’m now a qualified PAT tester so I make sure that electrical items are safe for resale. I’m about train to become an Advanced PAT tester, so I’ll be able to safety-check more complicated things like ovens.

“Since joining Emmaus my confidence has grown a lot; I’ve learnt to push myself and try new things. I even do talks about our charity for local organisations, which is something I would never have been able to do before.

“At the moment I feel very settled and secure; I haven’t got a proper family, but I feel like Emmaus is my family now. I’m home.”

If you have been inspired by Shaun’s story and want to help, find out how to support us. It can be as simple as donating unwanted furniture, clothing or bric-a-brac, or visiting our charity shops, enabling us to continue our vital work with formerly homeless people.