Following years of drug taking, depression, multiple periods in prison, a relationship breakdown and living on the streets, Glenn, 46, is taking the opportunity to thank Emmaus North East for helping him turn his life around.

“When I was 19 I was introduced to recreational drugs. I used to take them at parties and with friends, but it was never anything serious or something I was worried about. I met my future wife at one of those parties and settled down. We made a home for ourselves and had three beautiful girls.”

Things started to go downhill, however, after Glenn’s marriage broke down and he lost his home and his family practically overnight. With nowhere to go, and no one to turn to, Glenn found himself in a hostel and back on drugs.

“[it was] the worst decision I could have made, but there were so few options available. The hostel environment is just awful. Everyone was abusing class A drugs and the staff took the view that you could do what you wanted unless you got caught. If you were caught you got kicked out and blacklisted. There was no actual help. You were just a number.”

“I wasn’t seeing my kids, and not having a home of my own made things worse. I started using hard drugs I had never used before, just to try and get through it all. They were the only comfort I had.”

After being in a hostel for a few months, things started to turn around when Glenn was allocated a flat of his own, but issues with universal credit and conflicting appointments with the Job Centre meant that Glenn fell into serious debt and rental arrears causing him to be evicted from his flat and found himself homeless again. From there he turned to shoplifting and was eventually sent to prison.

“The last time I was in prison I made the decision that I was never going to go back into a hostel. The environment is toxic. I would get clean in prison, then come out and go straight into a hostel where I would be surrounded by drugs again. I had made peace with the fact that I would rather sleep on the streets than go back to that. Thankfully, my prison support worker recommended Emmaus…and I can’t explain the difference it has made to my life.”

“I work in the wood shop and have learnt so much since I have been here. I’ve made a few different things which have been sold in the shops and the aim is to train more. If Emmaus hadn’t come along when it did, I dread to think where I would be now. Probably back in prison, or back on drugs. Thanks to Emmaus I am now rebuilding my relationships with my daughters. It’s just a day by day process for now, but we’ll get there. I have a purpose and a family, and I couldn’t wish for anything more.”