“I was ignored, abused and left out in the cold for years before I found Emmaus. My mental health was so poor I count myself lucky to have survived.”
Albie’s mother died when he was a child and his father struggled to cope. When Albie became a parent himself, he experienced his own mental health issues and when the pressure became too much to bear, he used drugs to get by. Eventually, Albie ended up on the streets.
He spent eight years sleeping rough. During this time his tent was burned down, he was physically attacked and urinated on by members of the public. One winter, he slept in three feet of snow with only a sheet of cardboard and some newspaper for warmth.
No-one should be forced to live like this.
Albie said, “People just don’t care… Because you’re homeless, it doesn’t mean that you’re worth less than anyone else, we should all be equal. Just some things have gone wrong in my life and not theirs.”
Many of the people who lost their lives had been sleeping rough, others were staying in emergency or temporary accommodation. What unites them all is their struggle to get the support they needed to change their lives.
Thankfully, Albie has found happiness and turned his life around at Emmaus Cambridge. With access to the help he needs, he feels his mental health is stable for the first time in years. He has been to college and qualified as a chef. And, perhaps most importantly of all, after the loss and abuse he experienced, Albie has been heartened by the welcome he received at Emmaus.
He said, “I felt like a proper person. Not just someone that came off the streets, I was someone who belonged here.”
Rebuilding after the trauma of homelessness takes time and understanding. That’s why Emmaus offers comprehensive support under one roof. Communities provide a home for as long as it is needed, meaningful work, and personalised support to overcome the problems that led to homelessness.
Having a stable and secure place to live, and nutritious food to eat, helps to restore health and wellbeing. Companions can access medical support, mental health services and specialist counselling. People who may have spent years feeling isolated and alone also make life-long friendships in Emmaus communities. They know there is always someone they can turn to for support and encouragement on days when they are struggling.
Having meaningful work and the chance to learn new skills also plays a vital part in improving wellbeing. When you have experienced homelessness, the opportunity to contribute and feel valued helps rebuild confidence and self-esteem.
Donate today to make a difference.
You can make a difference.
Your gift means we can welcome more homeless people into an Emmaus community.