What was your situation when you were sleeping rough?
Due to a chaotic life, I was kicked out of a shared house. I found myself homeless and living in woods. I felt I’d rather sleep in the woods than in the middle of town, but I wasn’t coping well. It was winter and I don’t think anyone knew I was there for a while. I didn’t speak to people.
I was there for a couple of months and luckily most of the locals were pretty cool, but there were a few dodgy people. One day I got my tent burned down. A guy who walked his dog in the woods raised £500 to help me buy new clothes and a tent, and I was really grateful. The local community were also getting me food parcels as they were concerned about my welfare.
Were you aware that people had made StreetLink alerts for you?
I didn’t realise this at the time, but I later found out that a number of StreetLink alerts were made for me while I was sleeping rough. This resulted in the P3 team coming out to look for me and I started to engage with them. I wanted help. I’m glad those alerts were made. I wouldn’t have survived without my outreach worker Tim checking on me.
How has P3 Charity supported you?
I’m really lucky to have Tim. I felt I was getting feral in my tent, so I welcomed the normality of P3 visits, as it made me feel that I wasn’t alone and that people were trying to help. It was also nice to be kept in the loop, where before I sometimes felt that information was kept from me.
I felt safer when P3 came to see me, even it was just for a bit, as I was beginning to be threatened by some of the local community.
And of course, they helped get me into accommodation. Initially I was placed in Safe Spaces in a different town from where I lived, which didn’t really work for me, so they helped me move to the assessment center in my own town. This led to me being offered my current place in low supported housing.
My support worker has also been attending appointments with me, even though I am now housed. I find this very reassuring as I suffer badly with my mental health in situations which may cause me stress.
What is life like now?
I am doing better than I imagined in my own place – I'm doing well.
They have said that I could be nominated to move into independent accommodation if I continue to maintain my current lifestyle. This is a massive step forward for me as it hasn’t always gone well when I have been placed in supported accommodation as I find it very chaotic. I would like to move into own flat eventually, but probably with support.
I am also engaging with my mental health team, who are giving me useful advice on how I can move forward with my recovery.
What are your thoughts about StreetLink?
I think StreetLink is a great service. It helped get me off the streets and it can help others too. When you’re out in the cold and feeling pretty down and lost, not knowing what to do, you need someone to step in. Once an alert is made and the outreach team comes out, you have a friendly face. You know you can trust that person and you are safe. Out on the streets you are quite vulnerable, I can’t really stress that enough, but having StreetLink to send support along makes you feel more secure. It definitely helps.