My life before coming to Emmaus was very stressful being homeless. I had lived with my mum, but when she passed away, I got evicted as I couldn’t keep up with rent.

I was sofa surfing and going to a night shelter some nights. Sometimes you got a bed, and sometimes you wouldn’t. The night shelter was good because you could get your washing done and get a meal, but you would also get people pushing to get a room. Sometimes, there were fights outside, and I didn’t feel safe. You needed to keep to yourself to avoid trouble. If you didn’t get a bed, you’d have to find a doorway to sleep in or walk around at night to kill time and keep safe. Other times, I would sleep in a tent with other people, eight of us. We called it ‘Tent City’ and I was there for six months. I slept everywhere I could find a decent and safe place. I also slept in the Gardiner Haskins Car Park for a long time.

A typical day homeless for me would be waking up with other people around or on my own. I would then go to places where they give free food away and I could wash myself. There are many places in Bristol where you can get free stuff and support. I would then go to the job centre to sign in or look for jobs in the library. The main support I got was from the Job Centre and my coach, and I also got some support from the outreach team. 

Initially, it was scary to be homeless because of uncertainty. But after a few weeks, you get used to your situation. You meet people in similar situations who then become your friends. I usually kept to myself; I never begged for money, so people never looked down on me. I was surviving on the jobseeker allowance.

Now I’m at Emmaus Bristol, I do all sorts of things. I work in the warehouse, make collections and deliveries in the van, or work in the shop. I was given training to work in the warehouse, which I enjoy, and as a result, this became my main role in the social enterprise. I get a lot of satisfaction from working at Emmaus Bristol. I like the routine and keeping busy.

Emmaus Bristol has supported me by providing shelter and giving me ongoing support. I can come to the support team when I have an issue, and they will find time to help me. I feel listened to as well. Emmaus Bristol is a good organisation. I like how we can support homeless people and the staff here are reliable and supportive. 

I am enjoying my time at Emmaus Bristol and being part of the community. I would like to stay here and contribute to the social enterprise until I can no longer do so.