The picture above describes how I feel today, I’ve reached the end of my resources, this is my last night, flat sitting and tomorrow, well I don’t really want to think about what tomorrow will bring, I do know it won’t be good.
I decided to bite the bullet and see if I could get into the Homeless Night Shelter, taking several deep breaths, I made the call, only to be answered by a volunteer who didn’t really know anything, but I was to call back around midday.
It was quite bust at work today and I missed the time and finally managed to get hold of someone about 4pm this afternoon.
I explained my situation and wanted to know what my options were regarding the night shelter, firstly as I had somewhere to stay tonight I’m not deemed homeless call back tomorrow, what? wait… a little frantic I got her to stay on the line, I had a few questions, huge impatient sigh replied with “what do you want to know”
Me: ” do I just turn up, or do I need to be referred”?
Them :” being referred gets you in quicker, or you can just turn up, we operate on a fist come first serve basis.
Me: What time do you open, I was told to be there from 6.30
Them: “are you on housing benefit or job seekers allowance”
Me: “neither, and why?
Them: ” because you have to pay, were a charity and the money we receive from our clients helps fund the shelter( bit snappishly)
Me: “Ok, how much”?
Them: ” if your on benefits(housing) you pay £3.00 per night, if not its £24.50 per night
Me: “HOW MUCH…….doing a quick calculation, that would be £171.50 per week, I don’t have that much money
Them: “as I said it’s a charity”
Me: I’ll call back tomorrow.
I’m so disheartened, that is exorbitant and totally beyond my means, even renting a room in a private house costs less, and this is supposed to be a charity, yes I can apply for housing benefit which takes about 2 weeks to process, however I don’t have £300 plus pounds to keep me afloat, even If I had job seekers allowance I still wouldn’t be able to pay that.
Just thinking about it made feel as though I was going to sink really fast if I were to get help from a charitable agency, they help people yes but it seems at a cost and they are worse than any rogue landlord.
Just to get my head around it, I’m in desperate need of help Ok, but I have to somehow conjure up this money in order to be helped, I do understand they are subject to local government funding, I get it I really do, but how will that empower me to be able to move forwards, if £24.50 is the cost of a bed for the night, you do also get breakfast and an evening meal, you also have to be out at 9am, back at 6.30pm lights out at 11pm, I don’t even object to any of that, and fully understand why it’s enforced, I just feel if I go down this route I’ll be worse off than now.
For me the streets aren’t an option, but see how it can become the only viable solution, so tomorrow it’s back to knocking on doors, begging favours from friends, my rictus smile in place as I plead for a few nights on a sofa.
It’s going to take nothing short of a miracle to get me through this, I’m down but not out, however the truth is I’m just frightened.