I have been homeless for 6 years. Before this I was living in Scunthorpe, but when the person living below me died, drug addicts pinched all the copper piping and so I couldn’t get any water. I was moved to a small village, but one of my neighbours started bullying me. He kept coming round to borrow money and my mobile phone. He said things will be alright if you keep lending them to me, but the moment you stop, things will get difficult. I had no one to help me. I was isolated out there. I felt intimidated, so I abandoned my property and first went to Manchester, then came to London around 2009.
In London, I was street homeless. I would eat and shower at day centres. I survived on trains and buses. When my benefits came I would get a travel card and sleep on the buses at night and then sleep on the train to Hayes. When you’re homeless you suss out the places you need to steer clear of, like day centres where there are a lot of fights. I found out about the 999 Club about 4 years ago, through the homelessness magazine The Pavement, and started coming here in the day to be off the streets. When my dad died, Alison, the Senior Advice and Support Worker, helped me get a bank account and I managed to pay off my debts and loans. I would have liked to use the money to get myself on my feet accommodation-wise, but I was struggling with a gambling addiction that left me back at square one.
Recently because my health was declining, I went to get help at the 999 Club to find somewhere to live. I decided to go to Alison for help as I can’t do it alone. First of all she got me an appointment to see Sheila from London Housing Trust and Alison accompanied me to that interview. That helped a lot. You really need support, someone backing you up. You need someone on your side. Without Alison, I wouldn’t have known about any of the organisations that could have offered me some help. I am currently on the waiting list for shared housing with support, waiting for a vacancy to come up. I simply want to be able to live somewhere safe and warm.