Matt is a currently staying in one of our supported housing projects, and he talked to us about his experiences of being on the streets, especially during the hot summer months.
I had a few difficulties in my life, issues within my family, and I was arguing quite a bit with my family and ended up homeless because it was too much. I couldn’t raise enough money to fend for myself or to get my own house.
I was on the streets from November 2021, it was cold, it was freezing, it was tough. I’ve seen people with totally black and blue faces, these are homeless people, and I’m thinking crikey what happened and that I was lucky even to be on the streets and not get attacked.
When I came back to Bath it was hot and I was living under the train tracks under the train station. All I would use is cardboard, sheeting to go on the ground to take the coldness up and my use my tent covers that went over the top, so I was quite hot most of the time; It was probably even worse than the winter, because of the flies, the illnesses, the open wounds, lack of shade, lack of water, I really struggled.
Outreach were working every morning, they were prepared to come and see us, give us coffee, tea and tell us where we needed to go if we needed medical assistance, food, water, or anything else. I was homeless for the lock-down. I think you get a realisation that even Covid wasn’t a worry, I didn’t really care about Covid at that point.
I was referred to Julian house after say a week or so and they helped me very well with everything I needed. They gave me a lot of support with everything; setting up a bank account, getting clean clothing, they helped me address an eating disorder that had been accumulating throughout my time, and odd sleeping patterns.
Once I got into Julian House it was pretty much help was on its way really. The teams were fantastic! I was at Julian House for 5 months, and then I came into supported housing and I think it’s absolutely fantastic. I was just happy and pleased to get in somewhere and keep my head down and get on.
Years ago, when I was working, I used to drive by Julian House and think why those guys don’t get a job. Then I found myself in the same place,
My supported accommodation is fantastic. I can’t wish for anything better, to have somewhere where you can get your head down, keep the peace, keep your life away from involving others.
The food banks have been smashing, having the food banks help Julian House and generally the accommodation here. It’s really been good.
They fund you with everything you need, beds, tables, cutlery, chest of drawers, everything really, but I do like to buy my own things, just to keep myself sweet, so that if I go on anywhere I can take my stuff wherever I need to be.
Interest rates are rising, everything’s rising, food prices are rising, gas bills, electricity bills, everything is rising. People are going to be in my situation too, and it’s tough, I think the saying: “We are all one pay cheque away from our own health being detrimental” is definitely true.
I’ve been here for over a month now and my dream is probably to help people in the same challenging position. I’m glad I was in Bath, people do care, I know people care.
Summer is usually a time we all look forward to taking a break, whether that’s a holiday away, a weekend camping or just an afternoon in the garden with a friend… but for the people we support there is no break.
People experiencing homelessness are over nine times more likely to take their own life than the general population. Poor mental health, substance reliance and lack of employment opportunities, means that for many individuals, homelessness is something they struggle to avoid.