Home­less man full of praise for char­ity: ‘With­out Ju­lian House I’d prob­a­bly be dead’

Bath Chronicle - - NEWS - Olivia Scull Print writer 01225 322273 olivi­aalexan­dra.scull@reach­plc.com

A con­fer­ence in Bath to­mor­row (Fri­day) aims to high­light the prob­lem of home­less­ness and rough sleep­ers in the city. Bath MP Wera Hob­house has joined to­gether with home­less­ness char­ity Ju­lian House to look at how they can tackle the prob­lem of the grow­ing num­bers of peo­ple who find them­selves with­out a per­ma­nent home. One of those the con­fer­ence will hear from is Terry - not his real name - who found him­self on the streets due to un­for­tu­nate cir­cum­stances. Terry moved from Dar­ling­ton to Bath 17 years ago but last July his world was turned up­side down. He said: “It hap­pens so, so quickly. I moved out of where I was liv­ing and was stay­ing with friends for a few days. I was sup­posed to move some­where else and it all sud­denly fell through. Sim­ple as that, I had nowhere to go one night. “I packed ev­ery­thing up and ev­ery­thing I own was in boxes on the street and I thought ‘Oh Christ’ what’s go­ing to hap­pen tonight. I spent that night in a car park. “I was very, very lucky the car park was next to the Ju­lian House of­fice.” Terry con­tin­ued: “It was scary. I wasn’t wor­ried about the weather or any­thing, it was the not know­ing... It was the com­plete un­known and the fear and the tired­ness. I didn’t want to go to sleep be­cause I didn’t know what would hap­pen. It’s cold, it’s de­press­ing. It’s aw­ful. “I was ab­so­lutely ex­hausted when one of the staff from Ju­lian House walked past and asked if I was al­right. I said ‘No, not re­ally. I don’t know what I’m go­ing to do. I’ve got nowhere to go.’ “They got in touch with the shel­ter and within half an hour there was a van to pick me up. I was very, very, very, lucky!” Terry moved through the sys­tem at Ju­lian House. He lived in the shel­ter while he con­tin­ued to work part time. They re­homed Terry, but at the time he was deal­ing with men­tal health prob­lems which led to an abuse of al­co­hol. “It was part of the stress of ev­ery­thing and I had been deal­ing with men­tal health stuff for years and my cop­ing mech­a­nism was drink,” said Terry. When he moved out of his house he had a “pretty se­vere men­tal break­down”. Ju­lian House stepped in again as Terry was still in­volved with them and they moved him back into the shel­ter. He said: “They didn’t have to do that but they knew I could be looked af­ter there be­cause I wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily a risk to my­self or other peo­ple but I wasn’t safe to be left on my own. I wasn’t go­ing to end up de­lib­er­ately hurt­ing my­self but things weren’t go­ing right. I wasn’t look­ing af­ter my­self at all.” Terry is full of praise for the help he re­ceived from Ju­lian House. “With­out Ju­lian House I wouldn’t have ac­cess to the ser­vices I’ve been able to ac­cess. “I had one-on-ones with a key­worker, I al­ways had a key­worker. You see them weekly and even when you move on you’ll get a phone call or text once a week say­ing ‘Are you okay? Any­thing you need?’ It’s just to make sure you’re okay and if there is any­thing else they can do to help you move on or be in­de­pen­dent. The big thing at Ju­lian House isn’t ‘We’ve got you, we’ll look af­ter you.’ It’s about in­de­pen­dence.” Terry had a job while he was home­less, but was given a doc­tor’s note rec­om­mend­ing he took three months off work ear­lier this year as he was di­ag­nosed with se­vere anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion. He has now got his life back on track, is liv­ing in a low sup­port prop­erty and is look­ing for work, thanks to the staff at Ju­lian House. Terry couldn’t be more thank­ful: “Ju­lian House is awe­some and with­out them I’d prob­a­bly be dead. A lot of the work they do goes un­no­ticed.” Ju­lian House is al­ways in need of do­na­tions, in par­tic­u­lar tins and packet foods and clothes for the win­ter months. For more in­for­ma­tion visit their web­site www.ju­lian­house.org.uk There are 28 rough sleep­ers and 32 house­holds in tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion in the city and even though this num­ber has dou­bled in re­cent years, Bath is nowhere near the na­tional av­er­age of 200 house­holds. This is largely down to the work done by lo­cal char­i­ties in car­ing for the home­less as much as they pos­si­bly can. Other key­note speak­ers at the con­fer­ence will be from Home­less Link and the Al­bert Kennedy Trust. The con­fer­ence is at the Bath Royal Lit­er­ary and Sci­en­tific In­sti­tute at 2:30pm. All are wel­come.

Terry shared his ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing home­less in Bath and how he was helped by Ju­lian House

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