Homelessness might feel like something that only happens to other people.
But many of the people sleeping rough on London’s streets are ordinary people whose lives have been tipped over the edge by difficult times.
If they don’t have children or other priority needs, they may not be able to turn to bodies like the local council for help.
Here’s what happened to one of our guests.
A downward spiral of setbacks
“I became homeless in October 2011 after a downward spiral of setbacks including a combination of losing my job and splitting with my partner and not having the funds to rent a room of my own.
I tried to get help from the local council, without success, as I was told I am not a priority.
I slept rough on the local commons and made contact with the Ace of Clubs, a homeless people’s advice and drop in centre.”
The Robes night shelter was a turning point
“The staff at Ace of Clubs put my name forward to the Robes night shelter and I was accepted.
This offer of a temporary roof over my head was a turning point in my life and the beginning of my re integration into society.
I was made to feel very welcome, got 2 cooked meals a day, a bed, the companionship of similar individuals who were homeless and the support of 2 dedicated staff most mornings. This was all during the coldest winter months.
There was also specific support/advice on benefit entitlement, re-housing options through charities and/or the DSS, job hunting and also support with using other homeless facilities such as drop in centres and charities.”
The opportunity to rebuild my confidence
“I personally took advantage of the wellbeing classes and job search facilities of other homeless charities and was given the time and space by the Robes staff to do what I felt was necessary, in my own time.
This grace afforded me the opportunity to rebuild my confidence and lead directly to me getting a decent job.
I still have the job and I am making real progress in getting back to where I was before I became homeless.”
Robes made a real difference at that time
“I am extremely grateful for everything done for me at Robes and would like to express what a real difference Robes made in my life at that time.
Sleeping rough is a total nightmare and there are precious few resources open to people like me, who are unable to get help from local authorities.
Robes made a desperate situation tolerable and guided me and many others back on the path to meaningful lives. Bravo.”