It wasn’t just one thing that led me to the streets, but a run of bad luck that snowballed. I crashed my car and wrote it off. After the accident I couldn’t work. With no income, I soon lost my flat. I bedded down on a mate’s sofa at first, but I couldn’t stay for long. It was his home, not mine. I didn’t know who to turn to and the cold weather was really kicking in, so I bought a small tent. It helped keep me dry and I pitched up all over, not wanting to stay too long in one place.
Living on the streets, you never feel safe. You feel people staring at you, wanting you gone. It was so isolating, and my self-esteem was rock bottom. I felt it was my fault, that I should get myself out of this mess.
Then a friend told me about SPEAR. I got in touch with them and asked for help. An outreach worker came and found me in my tent one morning. They asked me lots of questions about what I needed and how they could help. They got me somewhere to stay – it was such a relief to have get the keys and somewhere safe to sleep.
Next, I spoke to SPEAR’s Skills Development team. They put me on a programme that helped build my confidence until I felt ready to look for work again. I found a job working with disabled and young people with special needs. With a salary, I was able to afford a place of my own again. After a while, a job came up at SPEAR in their new homelessness prevention programme. I applied and was over the moon when I got it. After that, I got a job in their Kingston Outreach team, helping to get people off the streets.
It means so much to me to help people who were in my situation. There can’t be a better reason to go to work.