I got in with the wrong crowd and my life went on a downward spiral. It got worse and worse to the extent where my parents kicked me out. They helped me out a lot and if it wasn’t for them, I’d probably be dead.

My dad kept pulling me out of debt, but it just wasn’t solving the problem. It got to the point where my parents’ health was suffering through the stress I was causing them, so they had to kick me out. At first, I felt a bit let down but looking back, it was me who was letting myself down. They were just trying to do what they felt was the best.

As soon as I hit the streets, I knew I was in the gutter. From there, things did actually get easier in a way. I had a choice to make. Either I stuck to what I was doing and probably end up dead or got myself straight. When people are homeless, being hooked on a drug does make it easier to get through daily life. My family didn’t want to know me, friends had long gone – it was the worst feeling in the world.

On the streets I really suffered with my mental health and ended up getting admitted to hospital. Whilst there I tried getting support off the council in terms of housing, but they couldn’t help. Up until being on the streets, I’d worked and paid my taxes, so I thought I was entitled to some support. It made me angry knowing that if the council couldn’t help, I was back to square one and out on the streets.

Moving to Emmaus

Thankfully there was a guy at the hospital who did help me out. He found out about Emmaus Salford and together we went down there to check it out. I couldn’t join Emmaus straight away, so I went back to the hospital for a few days and then moved into Emmaus Salford in September 2017.

When you’re on the streets and everything is going bad, moving to Emmaus is a good feeling. I remember thinking this is sweet. I had my own room, I got fed, I had the work to keep me busy and basically, I had everything I needed. It was the best position I could have been in, so I was keen to make the most of it.

In terms of working in the Emmaus social enterprise, I did everything. Literally, I don’t think there’s a job that I haven’t done. I started off driving the vans, doing deliveries and collections, I worked in all three shops, I did the logistics and just helped where I could. Outside of work I got involved in some of the community activities. I did the football, took part in a quiz night at University of Salford, did a couple of talks, and I remember going to the Comedy Club one night.

Onwards and upwards

I moved out of Emmaus Salford in October 2018. Again, I was at that point in my life where I had to start again. I ended up moving in with my girlfriend at the time and then built on top. I got a job initially and then because I’m a joiner by trade, I soon found a better job. We ended up breaking up and so I moved into my own place. I’ve since moved on and got an even better job, doing exhibitions and shop fitting all over the place – it’s good work and well paid.

I still visit Emmaus Salford regularly and I’m thankful for what it did for me. To all those who support Emmaus I’d say keep doing it. The charity isn’t as well-known as other major organisations so it’s important that people support the smaller local charities. Emmaus supports people who have been homeless, but they also do a lot of good work in the community.

That feeling of being homeless and at the bottom was the fuel I needed to sort my life out. Everything’s possible in life. Some people find themselves homeless and think there’s no hope. There is hope but there’s only you who can do it. If you’re happy on the street then it’s your choice, but if you don’t want to be there then do something about it.

Once you’re on that street you’re invisible. You’ve got to make your own way in life but that’s the same for everyone. If you’re addicted to drugs and want to change then don’t accept that it can’t be done. Life’s hard but you deal with it, get on with it and eventually it’ll all pay off.