I was working in the Grays area, working in lots of different jobs, main temporary roles, and taking whatever job I could get. Then COVID-19 arrived, and the work dried up. I lost the place I was living and, as I wasn’t earning any money, I couldn’t find anywhere else to live.
I was staying in a caravan that belonged to someone I occasionally worked for, but he decided to move away and took the caravan with him. I didn’t know that’s what he was doing, and when I got back from looking for work the caravan had gone. My home was gone.
I slept on friends’ settees for a while but I didn’t’ want to impose on friends for too long. And COVID was coming in which made it difficult. I saw London on the news, and the charities helping with food and bits and pieces there so decided to go to London to see what help I could get.
I slept rough in London for about four nights before I got talking to other homeless people who gave me lots of information on where I could get food and sleeping bags. Eventually I spent about four months sleeping rough in London.
It was hard, but the upside was that I made some fantastic friends, through the charities that supported me and other homeless people. One of the charities, Under One Sky, got some of us into a back packer’s hostel. Jamie from Under One Sky told me about Emmaus, and I looked on the website to find out more about it. He had an application form for Emmaus and he helped me to apply.
We filled the form in on Thursday and Hayley from Emmaus Hertfordshire called me the next day for my assessment. Half an hour later she told me I had been accepted and that I was moving to Emmaus Hertfordshire.
I was very nervous when I first arrived at Emmaus. I didn’t know what to expect, and then because of COVID-19 I was in quarantine for 11 days.
I work in the shop a lot, and I enjoy that. It’s has helped me a hell of a lot. It has given me a real purpose.
The team and the other companions have given me a lot of support and guidance, showing me what to do and how to present myself to customers. We’ve recently had a training course about customer relations dos and don’ts which has been helpful.
The support at Emmaus Hertfordshire is great. The support team and the shop managers all help us out. It’s been a good six months. I have somewhere to sleep at night, I have food, I have the other companions to have a natter to.
I don’t know what the future holds at the moment. I don’t have any plans as I have only been here a few months. There’s no time limit here so I can stay at Emmaus for as long as I want. But I know when I am ready the team will help me move on to a new flat and a job.