In 2010, I separated from my partner and lost my job as a security guard. I became homeless.
I was sleeping behind Poundland in Woolwich, in the car park. I moved away from London, staying with a friend in Birmingham. I stayed in Birmingham for 2 years trying to find work and a place to stay but couldn’t find anything. I came back to London.
No one was helping me. It’s not easy to get help from people. I eventually found part-time work at Dunkin Donuts while I was still sleeping outside. I got a room to rent with the money I made just to get off the street, but the job was temporary so I continued to sleep in the street. For a long time I didn’t want to tell anybody I was sleeping outside.
I didn’t know about the 999 Club.
But one day another homeless person told me about it. They said that I could get a sleeping bag and some help.
I came the next day to the 999 Club and they helped me immediately. I took a shower, got a sleeping bag and something to eat. I then went to the “Next Steps to Employment” class with Edith and did a job search with Lorna from National Careers Service. Lorna helped me to improve my CV.
I had some experience driving from my days working for Southwark Council but Zisca helped me to update my driving skills with the bus driver training assessment.
Following the help of the 999 Club and an old friend of mine, I ended up getting a job as a delivery driver.
I returned to tell the 999 Club what happened to me because they gave me a lot of help. I will never forget this. I’ve met friends here and improved my life. That’s my story.
Names have been changed for reasons of confidentiality.
Illustrator: Sanjana Chandrasekhar