Image 1. Praful (right) and his friends, before moving to his current accommodation.
Image 2. Praful, a month after being in his current accommodation.
I became homeless on the 20th of May 2014. I was evicted for the place I had lived in for 3 and a half, 4 years. The landlord was selling the property.
When Jobseekers’ Allowance stopped, I had no money, nothing. I had been in the UK for 40 years.
I’ve been very vulnerable on the streets. I’ve been robbed 3 times, I became an object of fun for people. I smelled, I was not shaved, people gave me bad looks. It affected me because it made me a liar and a thief; and I don’t have depression yet but I feel it’s a stare. I have two children who would like to visit me, but where? On the streets? I had to lie to my children.
This month I was able to access accommodation through Ashford Place, on the 4th of August (after 46 days on the streets).
People on the streets need a secure unit. It doesn’t need to become a home, but it needs to give security. Also, in a shelter you can link with other people in a similar situation. Many people are depressed and mentally ill, and talking helps. Depression is the first thing that hits you [when you’re on the streets]. You have nobody to look with, no one to close your eye with. It’s just me and my thoughts, which don’t leave me alone. But when I speak to others, I feel like I let them out and I feel much better.
Now you have a day centre, people come in during the day, but you need more. When you walk out on the streets, you don’t know where to stay, you are abused by passers-by, harassed by the police, you have no security. A night centre would help a vast amount of people.
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