A-Z Blogging Challenge Theme: Homelessness
Once homeless, meaning you have nowhere to stay except the streets, there are several charities that can help, such as SHELTER to name one.
If any of the charities are able to take your case they must have full disclosure from you, and any paper work you have, I know I walked about with a huge bag of dog-eared paper work for weeks and weeks, that was literally all I had that said who I was and my current status.
I was initially directed to the night shelter the first night, “just turn up at around 6.30pm” I was told, so a friend of mine took me, there was a crowd outside a mixture of young and old all waiting to enter when they opened the doors at 7.
Sitting in the car I could feel the rising panic as my situation became a reality I would not be sleeping in my own bed that night, we alighted from the car and a couple of the boys helped me get my case out, one of the young girls informed me there would be no room as those waiting were already residents, my insides were churning and I felt the beginnings of a panic attack, I felt as though becoming unglued.
The attendant finally opened the door and the others were going in, and from nowhere I could hear screaming, just loud shrill screeches, not realising it was me until my friend started to shake me, the very idea of even entering terrifying, both were trying to calm me down but it just got worse as I fought against them, it was like wearing cement shoes, I just couldn’t accept it, in the end the attendant told my friend that there were no spaces anyway and I would have to be referred by the council or come back the next day to see if there was a vacancy, I never did go back there.
Once safely back in the car it took about an hour for me to calm down and my friend(who was actually a friend of my neighbour’s) started to phone around looking for guest houses etc for the next few days.
I was reasonably coherent by the time we left and we went to several place and eventually S (I shall call her) paid for me to stay in a local hotel for a few days( I’m happy to say I was able to repay the £120 she loaned me) and is a kindness I’ll never forget.
The next up early to go to the local council to see what assistance was available, NONE because my home was repossessed it’s deemed that I made myself intentionally homeless, I explained that I had nowhere to after the Saturday and could they refer me to someone who could help( they didn’t even suggest the night shelter which they’re supposed to) the reply was to give me a leaflet with several local agencies that might be able to help and as they were mainly charitable, their help was dependent on several factors.
To be fair each year they fight for funding from the government, and each year the funds available decrease, which means they have to be very selective about how they can help you, they are very sympathetic, however their hands are tied due to budgetary requirements.
I did not and still don’t fit the criteria:
I had a job (even though it started the day after I lost my home)
I wasn’t pregnant
I didn’t have children
I wasn’t at the risk of domestic violence
I wasn’t addicted to drugs/alcohol
I had not been recently released from prison
I had no disabilities
I had no mental health issues, my depression wasn’t severe enough, it did become so , but that’s for another letter in the A-Z
I wasn’t vulnerable
I also wasn’t in receipt of benefits and to be able I would need an address, so if I lost my job(which was the case shortly afterwards) I still wouldn’t be able to claim or so I was told and would need to be situated somewhere.
So for weeks I bounced around the various agencies only to be given the same answers, I filled in so many forms, my throat dry from telling the same tale over and over, I began to break down bit by bit the sheer stress of having to deal with this and the constant terror that I would end up on the streets, within a month I crashed and burned, my situation was untenable and the black dog caught and engulfed me and with nowhere else to turn I succumbed and remained homeless.