Homelessness is a harsh reality for many individuals across our country. It’s an issue that transcends age, gender, ethnicity, and personal history. Everyone who finds themselves on the street has a unique story, and today, we’re sharing one of them with you.
“It’s not how many times we fall, but how many times we get back up.”
When Jayson first walked through the doors of Julian House, burdened with the weight of years of hardships, that quote may have felt out of reach. But, as Jayson’s story reveals, it’s never about the fall – it’s about the comeback. As we embrace the summer of hope, let’s reflect on the transformational journey of individuals like Jayson and remind ourselves that together, we can pave the way to new beginnings.
This is Jayson’s story:
I was on the street before I had Julian House’s support and basically wanted to kill myself. If it wasn’t for Julian House fitting me in, 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. I was engaged, living in Frome, working in a cheese factory and everything was okay. After my son died, I bottled everything up I suppose, and kept on telling people things were fine. When my son died, no-one could speak to me, nothing could be done with me. I had friends around me but I pushed them all away, didn’t want anyone around me.
I was drinking heavily and once you’re in that spiral downwards you can’t just get out of it. I didn’t like asking for help. I went deeper and deeper into drugs, into drink and for as long as I could I carried on going to work, until they realised I was half-cut most days. I ended up losing my relationship, the family, the house, and my job.
One of my first nights on the street I got beaten up quite badly. 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. It’s toughened me up and opened my eyes to a lot of things I thought I knew but clearly didn’t.
I did four years straight on the street. One day, someone put something in my cup and I looked up and it was my own Auntie. Her exact words were “What are doing? Why haven’t you rung me?” She was one of the closest relations I had, someone I always spoke to growing up. I felt shame. You think ‘someone who personally knows me has seen me at my lowest’. I couldn’t face her, so I got up and walked off.
In summer people think it’s not so bad ‘cos it’s warm at night. But, it doesn’t matter if it’s raining and doesn’t matter if it’s cold… you’re still on the street. I wasn’t using and didn’t have holes in my jeans or mud or blood on me. But some people can be quite judgmental. I mean, how do you feel when people make assumptions about you? Some people do use hard drugs on the street, but not everyone.
I’ve eaten out of bins. I’m not proud of it, but what do you do if you’ve got no money and there’s no soup kitchen open or anything like that. I’ve eaten half of a banana that was thrown away with mould on it. If I’m on the streets again, would I do it again? Probably, because that’s how you survive.
If it wasn’t for Julian House staff I wouldn’t be here. I’d be dead a long time ago, and that’s not me trying to dramatise it for effect. That’s plain and simply the reality of it. When you’re in there, you can leave your worries outside. It’s yours. It’s a roof over your head. I know what I would choose between a roof over my head and the howling rain. 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.
It’s a different life on the street. I’m not religious, but all I can say to anyone in my situation is have faith. Every action has a reaction. My son died and I dealt with it the way I dealt with it, and the reaction was that I ended up on the street, because of my actions. But if I didn’t act the way I had, I wouldn’t have learnt a valuable life lesson. With a lot of help from people here and friends on the street, it has made me the man I am.
Journeys like Jayson’s underline the crucial role that organisations like Julian House play in providing hope, support, and encouragement to the homeless community. But sustaining such essential services is becoming increasingly challenging, especially in light of financial constraints and the huge challenges Julian House is facing.
The funding we receive from BANES council was cut drastically in 2011 – by over 30%. This funding has remained stagnant for the past 12 years. Housing Benefit income has seen only a minuscule rise of 2.3% in this duration. To make our services more accessible and address issues like begging, we’ve also done away with client personal service charges, which used to be £3.00 per person, per night.
Rising Operational Costs:
Over the years, every budget line for the hostel has escalated. Just to illustrate a few:
– Our Hostel Support Worker’s salary has shot up by almost 23% since 2015.
– Our annual energy costs have skyrocketed by 151% since 2015.
– Food costs have surged by 58% since 2015.
– Routine repairs and maintenance expenses have risen by 155% since 2015.
– Phone and broadband expenses have also seen an 84% hike since 2015.
Despite these financial strains, we haven’t compromised on the services at the Manvers Street hostel. On the contrary, the growing complexities surrounding our clients’ needs mean we now offer even more intensive levels of support.
Presently, the deficit in funding for the Manvers Street hostel service is coming directly from our reserves. This is not sustainable in the long run.
Your contribution can make an impactful difference. Donating not only offers immediate help but also paves the way for long-term solutions aimed at alleviating homelessness. Each penny ensures the continuation of our lifeline services, helping individuals like Jayson find hope and recovery.
With every donation, we inch closer to our dream of a society where everyone has a place to call home. Let’s turn this vision into a reality together.
Thank you for your kindness and for joining us on this transformative journey.