Jayson’s Story and Experience With Julian House Services

“Being on the street, people don’t realise that it’s not like what you see on films or on the telly…it’s real life. You do get hurt. Death happens. You get beaten up. It’s not something I would wish on anybody in the world.”

Jayson has been using Julian House services for several years now. He told us about his story and his experiences with our services.

“I’ve been through Julian House since 2017, on and off. I was in a dark place back then. I was on the street before I had Julian House’s support and basically wanted to kill myself. I spilt with my partner. If it wasn’t for Julian House, I’d be dead. That’s genuinely the truth of it.”

“14 years ago I lost my son. He was a couple of years old and had meningitis. Before that, I was engaged, living in Frome, working in a cheese factory and everything was okay. But after my son died, I bottled everything up. Kept telling people I was fine, but I couldn’t see the truth. I was drinking heavily and ended up losing my relationship, the family, the house, my job. Once you’re in that spiral downwards you don’t realise it. I didn’t like asking for help and went deeper into drink, then drugs, then ended up on the street.”

“One of my first nights on the street taught me how rough sleepers have rules. I slept in a doorway and got beaten up quite badly. If someone has slept in one specific doorway for a few months, it becomes their house. It’s theirs. So there’s a certain code of conduct that you learn quickly. It’s toughened me up and opened my eyes to a lot of things I thought I knew but clearly didn’t. When you’ve been on the street for so long and you’ve got nothing, that one spot becomes yours and you get attached. It shocked me because I didn’t think I could get attached to something as simple as bit of cardboard, a sleeping bag and a shop doorway.”

“Being on the street, people don’t realise that it’s not like what you see on films or on the telly…it’s real life. You do get hurt. Death happens. You get beaten up. It’s not something I would wish on anybody in the world.”

“I did four years straight on the street. Even in summer people say, it’s not so bad cos it’s warm at night. See, I don’t get that. For the simple reason being, doesn’t matter if it’s raining doesn’t matter if it’s cold…you’re still on the street. The only difference is the weather. Some people can be quite judgmental. My attitude is that yes, I live in a homeless hostel but I want people not to assume that just cos I’ve got smart, decent-looking clothes on, that I’m not in a situation. I mean, how do you feel when people make assumptions about you? Some people do use hard drugs on the street, but not everyone. So people need to learn not to make assumptions.”

“I spent two years on the streets in Bath and Midsomer Norton areas, living day to day. I’m not proud of it but if you’ve got no money and there’s no soup kitchen open or anything, I’ve eaten out of bins. I’ve eaten half bananas that’ve been thrown away with mould on. If I go back on the streets, would I do it again? Probably, because that’s how you survive.”

“I was born in Bath but I’d never lived here. I didn’t have a clue about Julian House. When I came back to the city and was on the street, I asked someone if they knew any hostels and the first name they said was Julian House. So I went down, spoke to Jamie and within an hour I had a pod. It was pod 7. When you’re homeless, you remember small details. I remember the very first person I ever met on the street and I’ll never forget that pod number. The pods themselves? Sometimes people go “oh, no windows!” but when you’re in there, you can leave your worries outside. It’s yours. It’s a roof over your head. Between a roof over my head and the howling rain, I know what I would choose. People always say, “I sleep in MY pod”. For as long as you’re here, it’s yours.”

“I arrived at half seven that evening in 2017. It was a member of staff called Andy on shift. I broke down and he asked me what I’d do if I was on street that night. I said “I ain’t gonna lie to you, you’ll probably be finding my body in a couple of hours”. That’s genuinely how low I felt.”

“It was combination of things that led me to a suicidal place. I didn’t want to lose my partner, then my head went back to my son, then it went back to the first day I got made homeless, then everything started to come back…the first night on the street, everything. When you get sorted, if anyone ever says to you “you never think about being homeless again”, that’s a lie. I don’t care who you are, you always go back to those days. But for me to experience what I went through, what I’m still going through, part of me has been made stronger because of that experience.”

“For the last six to seven years I was with my partner. But since we split up, I’ve been back here at Julian House. The staff – Rachel and Rory especially – have been amazing. If they see me they always ask how I am and if I need anything. As far as Julian House goes, there aren’t enough words I can say about this place to give them the credit they deserve. This place saved my life, that’s all I can say.”

You can report a homeless person using Streetlink, and help them get support.