It is hard to escape the stories these days of homeless people. Those sleeping rough without a roof over their heads. But that isn’t the full story.
As you know, Midlands Simon Community works with people who are homeless and desperately in need of a place to call home, but we also support those who find themselves on the boundary of homelessness. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
Joanne knows this better than most. She said she just wanted to breathe.
Below Joanne tells it in her own words.
All Joanne wanted to do was breathe
Friends and family kept telling me “If you get away from him, everything will be fine! Things will start to look up! You just need to be able to breathe!”
How could I breathe? I knew I had moved away from my abusive husband. He never hit me but by just raising his voice, the look in his eyes, I was scared, terrified. I had to get my two children away from a home where it was completely ‘normal’ to hear me and their daddy roaring and shouting at each other. But he wasn’t going to let me do it as easily as all the advice made it sound.
Bit by bit, I managed to save the deposit and first month’s rent before walking out. He was so busy fighting over dust on the coffee table or not enough food on his dinner plate to realise he would be paying for my great escape. In my mind, it was the least he could do for his two children.
I found somewhere small, as cheap as I could get without being too far away from the town. It was the second month’s rent that was the problem. He had everything, everything was in his name.
I was at my wits end. I counted the contents of my purse over and over again. There was enough there for that evening’s dinner as long as the offers in the supermarket weren’t all gone. Kids shouldn’t be living off cheap and cheerful, they needed proper fruit and veg, healthy food. That was it. I needed to sort this out before me and my kids ended up homeless or running back to him with our tails between our legs.
I contacted Midlands Simon and explained my situation. Someone was going to call out to me and have a chat and see where we could start sorting out this mess that had become my life. Once I got off the phone that day, I felt a weight lifting from my shoulders.
Yes, that evening my kids had a cheap and cheerful dinner, but I knew the freezer dinners were numbered. Midlands Simon help people at risk of becoming homeless as much as they do the homeless. Their staff came out, answered any questions I had and knew all the medical and legal jargon that I hadn’t a clue about.
Now, I am completely independent, I’m working in a newsagents down the road, my kids are happy and healthy and they spent the summer making friends in our new estate. I have managed my money so I had no worries when it came to the new school term and all the costs that brings. Now I can breathe!
My husband has weekly access to our kids. He pays maintenance, no screaming matches, no raised voices and our kids know mammy and daddy love them very much.
I was one step away from being homeless, all because I needed to better my life for my kids. I wouldn’t change anything. I got amazing help and support from Midlands Simon and I know they are only ever a phone call away if I need them.
Now I can finally breathe.
Thank you Midlands Simon. Thank you,
Joanne, Josh (9) and Ruari (7)
*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.