From a professional job to no home
Open Door client A
New Job in the South West
I had been working as a professional all my life and decided, after working for several years in the Southwest, to move back to a residential area in the Southeast close to London. Following weeks of looking and searching for jobs in a large national organization I was interviewed and assured of a position. I arrived in the area for the induction and orientation which was completed in full. Over the next three weeks, there were numerous phone calls and visits to this company to hear of the results of the necessary checks. At the end of the three weeks, I received a phone call and written statement saying that there was no longer a position to work with them. On questioning the previous prospective employers as to why this had happened, the only reply was ‘we are no longer able to offer you any work’.
I had given up my house with the accompanying furniture, in the Southwest, to take up this employment. This mean that I was not only unemployed but also homeless (I was staying with friends at the time). After a week of going to the local housing department for emergency accommodation, an emergency bed was found in the local area . However, it was made clear that there was going to be no help from the staff of this company. It was also made clear that there was going to be no support of help for people who didn’t drink, use drugs and who had any other issues, I felt isolated and despondent about having to do everything for myself.
Experience of a night shelter
Following a month at this facility I was moved to a night shelter, where the rooms were shared by four people. The building was cramped as there were up to 15 people staying in a place the size of a small three bed roomed house. There was no access to liaise with the staff member who became the key worker. Once again, because I was just homeless and unemployed, with an education to degree level. and didn’t drink, use drugs or have other issues I found it difficult to get support. I felt that I was not believed and that people thought I was not telling the truth. There was little or no support with looking for housing or to become gainfully employed. We were fundamentally left to look after ourselves. At the end of six weeks I was moved again, to another night shelter – Open Door.
Staff at Open Door were helpful, co operative and proactive. Although all the channels were revisited, all the staff went out of their way to ease the pressure of finding accommodation including the local council. The same questions were asked about drink, drug use as well as any other mental health and physical issues. Once the answer was NO to these questions we were actually believed and nothing more was said.
A flat of my own
The happy ending to this story is that the I am moving into a one bed roomed flat on the outskirts of town in the very near future and applying for jobs to restart a long and very much missed career.
Finally, the moral to this piece of work is that the general public, wherever they are in the country, need to be aware that there are homeless people everywhere. Therefore, please stigmatise homeless people just for being at a bad point in their lives. Homeless and unemployed people are just that, HOMELESS AND UNEMPLOYED, not people to be stigmatised and ignored. We are all human beings and have the rights as everybody else to be treated the same way. We do not all drink, use drugs or have mental health issues. We are just going through a bad time in our lives and need a little help to get out of this situation. Homeless people all have an identity and purpose, we just need to re-build our confidence, to boost our self esteem and to feel valued as people.