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