A True Life Example of “From Homelessness to Hope” in Action
John has been coming to The Bridge for about 8 months since he has been living in Leicester. He’s been homeless in many cities for many years and knows what it is like to find yourselves on the streets alone and afraid. He told us that the term ‘sleeping rough’ is a lie because no one sleeps when they are on the streets – they are too afraid, too cold, too uncomfortable. Sleep is something you dream of. John was renting a room with a very gracious man who had offered him a roof over his head. This worked for a number of months until unfortunately the relationship broke down and John’s host felt he could no longer provide a home for him. It shows the nature of John’s personality that he totally understood why that had happened. He took full responsibility for the situation that caused the breakdown as he acknowledged that it had been his fault.
At this point, when John found himself without a home, Helen Hayes, a Bridge Board member and pioneer priest who works amongst the homeless in Leicester, was contacted by John’s church. Helen arranged to meet John in Leicester and contacted Patrick Harris, the Bridge’s Team Leader at Kildare Street, to check if it was possible for John to sleep the night in the Leicester City Hotel. The Bridge has an arrangement to send people to the hotel for one night until alternative housing can be arranged the following morning. Patrick agreed and Helen took John to the hotel where he was set up with a room for the night. At this point John was in a very distressed state. John was settled into his room and made safe for the night with an arrangement that Helen would return the next day to support him finding a new home.
The next day John was in much better shape and Helen took him to Wordsworth Road Hostel which is run by Leicester Quaker Housing Association. John was interviewed to see if this would be a good place for him to live and by 4 pm that day he was moving his things into his new home. By 6 pm his room was set up and he was able to go to The Bridge that night for some hot food, a lot happier and more settled than he had been 48 hrs earlier.
John is now making remarkable progress with good, professional support from Wordsworth Road and is now involved in supporting SoundCafe, a new project at St Martin’s House on Wednesday afternoons which provides a safe, creative place for those people who find themselves homeless, whatever the reason. John now gives advice for the running of SoundCafe and played a key role in the launch of the project on 1st October 2014 where he shared what it means to be homeless and how is life is turning around.
The funding from The Bridge to find John a safe space to sleep the night at the Leicester City Hotel played a key part in helping John find a home. That one night to get a good night’s sleep helped him be able to face the next day and start again.