Thomas has been through it all. His life has been a constant rollercoaster, and he never knew why. Thomas is 43 years old and has spent his nights sleeping in a hay barn in the remote countryside.
Out of sight and out of mind, he thought. Thomas called to our nurses’ clinic. He had nothing but the clothes on his back, not even a toothbrush. Our nurse had a chat with him and gave him a full health check, both physical and mental. Thomas began to get the help he needed and through the help of the nurse, avenues began to open towards GP`s and counsellors.
The light began to shine a bit brighter at the end of the tunnel, and it just seems to get brighter. If you met Thomas now, you would not believe he spent 6 months sleeping in a hay barn. Thomas is not out of the woods just yet, but he is not carrying his problems on his own. As the saying goes “a problem shared is a problem halved”. The staff and volunteers of Midlands Simon Community are there for Thomas every step of the way.
Thomas spent 18 weeks in our Emergency Accommodation Service. After moving out of here, Thomas moved into his own apartment. With the help of our Regional Support Service, Thomas has continued support and a keyworker, which means he has as much support as he needs.
Here is Thomas’ story, in his own words:
I remember it so clearly, the day I went into the nurses’ clinic and met the nurse. That was the start of it all. It hasn’t been easy but little by little, bit by bit, it gets better every day. Some days are tougher than others, thanks to the nurse I now understand why I have my ups and downs and how I can deal with them better. It’s not easy to get out of a habit of digging a hole and burying my head, but it has helped to know I have other options now.
I moved into the Emergency Accommodation in March 2014. It had everything I didn’t have for so long: warmth, comfort, a bed, a duvet, my own private space and people who noticed and cared when things were getting tough. Putting together my care plan with my keyworker wasn’t easy. Pointing out my flaws, my mistakes and my imperfections was a serious kick, especially when you feel like they are mounting up, but as my keyworker kept telling me “one step at a time, small changes will make a big difference”. My list of flaws isn’t gone but I am only human after all. I even surprised myself the odd time. I learnt how to cook and even made buns for the other residents one evening. I learnt how to work a fire extinguisher. Any courses I was told about, my new attitude was “sure I never know when I’ll need it”.
After just over 4 months in the Emergency Accommodation Service, I had enough money saved to get my own place. The Regional Support Service was a great help with this, talking to the landlord, making sure I had everything I needed and making sure everything was good to go. On Friday the 11th of July 2014, I moved into my own apartment. When my keyworker left that evening and I closed the door, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I made my first dinner in my new home, mashed potatoes and beans. Not quite the Ritz to some people but it was for me.
I am so lucky that I walked into that clinic that day. I sometimes torment myself about what would have happened if I didn’t have the courage to go in that day, but I did.
I have come full circle and I am never going back to where I was before. If I need help, my keyworker is just a text away.
Some people love the feeling of fresh sheets, I’m still getting used to having sheets on a bed.
My story just proves you can be in the depths of it all, not knowing what to do, but if you ask for help, you will get it.
*Names have been changed to respect the privacy of our clients
What is Homelessness?
Homelessness is about a lack of belonging, a lack of security and a lack of safety. Individuals who use our services are from lots of different backgrounds. We support people in addressing the issues that have caused them to find themselves homeless. We help people to move on and find long-term accommodation. For our Service Users this is a chance for a new beginning and a fresh start.
Please show your support for the homeless services in the Midlands and help someone in your community on their pathway out of homelessness with a kind donation.