Anyone who reads my ramblings will know that not only have I been dealing with Mental Health issues, but also homelessness, which I thought I’d resolved until last month for reasons still unknown to me I was unceremoniously kicked out and have been sofa surfing since then.
The story really began 2 years ago and it’s been an uphill battle since then to get myself into a position where I can have my own place again.
All decisions I’ve made regarding this have been temporary at best, and this year I’ve decided enough is enough, I cannot continue in this vein if I’m to get my life back on track, moreover the black clouds constantly threaten to overwhelm me, therefore I have to throw pride out of the window(pride is so debilitating) and asked for help.
Before I get on to that, most when they look at me wouldn’t actually think “homeless” the image we have is of down and outs roaming the streets aimlessly and perceived as a stain on society, which if were honest we tend to ignore, not always through lack of empathy, but more of a “thank god that’s not me” but in truth there are more shall we say ex professionals through economic downturn, relationship breakups,domestic abuse,debt,redundancy find themselves losing their homes, I for one never thought I’d be in this position, but I am and haven’t dealt with very well.
There are support agencies out there, and it takes time and persistence to get to the right advice, about what you can do next, if you’re a sufferer of Mental Illness the sheer stress of the situation will accelerate it to warp speed.
Getting now to the point, as part of my new campaign this year to change and improve my life I went cap in hand(not that your treated that way, but there is still a stigma attached), a chance meeting in December with a homeless support worker, amazing what a 5 minute chat can reveal anyway I gave her the readers digest version of my situation, and was invited to go see her in the new year.
Well the New Year is here and after my visit to the council her name came up, so off I went this morning, and had an 2 hr meeting with her, she works for the charity EMMAUS.
Emmaus (French: Emmaüs) is an international solidarity movement founded in Paris in 1949 by the Catholic priest and Capuchin friar Abbe Pierre to combat poverty and homelessness.
Since 1971 regional and national initiatives have been grouped under a parent organization, Emmaus International, now run by Jean Rousseau, representing 310 groups in 38 countries, offering a range of charitable services.
Emmaus is a secular organisation, but Communities around the world have kept the name because of its symbolism. The biblical story, found in the Gospel Of Luke, describes how two men saw the resurrected Jesus at the town of Emmaus, and so regained hope.
They run a housing community consisting of some 30 tenants, and they are self-sufficient not receiving any outside funds the money they make is from their own business, such as a large second hand shop selling quality goods, house clearance, gardening projects, removals, the tenant are required to work 40 hrs per week within the organisation in return for room and board, which are very nice and consist of a room with en suite.
They also have laundry rooms communal living rooms, plus communal kitchen where the staff also work, they provide all meals, furniture and even pay you a small sum each which some of which is put into a savings account for you, there is no minimum stay or maximum and the age range is from 18-65.
I’ve been offered a place which I’ve accepted provisionally, however I have a dilemma, I do quite a lot of freelance work some paid some on a volunteer basis, I would have to give this up, therefore lose my autonomy, I’m not allowed to do any other work except in their organisation.
At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I’m not sure that would work for me, the reasons being I can earn a reasonable living and manage a budget, but it would take longer and my status would remain the same, or I fully accept this offer, simply because it addresses my immediate problem of not having a permanent place to live, they have kindly given me until Tuesday to commit fully so quite a lot of thinking to do in the next few days, plus I don’t want to deprived anyone else of a place, as they don’t always come up.
They also have a great outreach programes that can assist with Mental Health, debts etc, so the support is there and ongoing, which a great benefit to be able to have access to that.
From what I saw today I can’t praise them enough but not entirely sure if this is the way to go for me, but I currently have no alternatives I need more long-term solutions, but this gives me breathing space.
I cannot afford to make anymore bad choices.