“When you’re homeless you spend every day in almost total isolation. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, especially being homeless in winter. I couldn’t just stop a total stranger and say: ‘I’m homeless, can you talk to me?’

One Friday night a group of guys started kicking me while I was in my sleeping bag. I just curled up inside hoping it would end quickly. I always found it hard to sleep after that. I was scared it might happen again.

When Mum died life began to unravel. I began using alcohol to numb the pain. A couple of weeks after Mum’s funeral, the grief suddenly hit me. I just couldn’t find a way forward after Mum died.

Before long, I lost my home. I ended up sleeping rough in London for two years, on and off. Being homeless in winter, when it’s cold and wet, it’s really tough. I kept drinking because it helped me to sleep. But it only masks the pain you’re feeling. I couldn’t see any point in living. I was thinking about jumping off a bridge. The thing that stopped me was an elderly lady asking if I was okay.

Emmaus has been there for me…it saved my life. It took me a while to conquer my demons but Emmaus never gave up on me. I’m grateful for the second chances. Since joining the community I’ve learned a lot about myself and I’m happy in my own skin – that’s something I would never have said before. When I move on from Emmaus I’d like to do counselling work. I want to help other people to overcome their problems and come out the other side.”

Life on the street was difficult for Lawrence. He was isolated, ignored and his mental health deteriorated. Now, Lawrence can relax knowing he has a stable and safe home for as long as is needed in an Emmaus community, access to fully paid training to increase his employability and help to move on to independent living when he is ready.

None of this would be possible without your support. Help us to bring more homeless people like Lawrence into our communities in 2020.

Yes, I would like to give people the support they need to rebuild their lives.

Thank you.