Having made many unsuccessful applications for employment, in June 2016 my savings had dwindled to zero and I became homeless. I was sleeping rough on the streets waiting for my small pension to arrive so I could return to the UK. During this rough sleeping period I had a bag stolen which contained amongst other things my medicine, which I must take daily to alleviate pain. I also suffer from high blood pressure, so this was a new low in my life. I have never suffered any mental health problems before in my life, but at that moment in time, I was beginning to wonder if it was worth carrying on. Knowing it was going to be a battle and not being sure of what lay ahead of me, I knew I had to get back to the UK and try and find help.
In July 2016, I was able to return to the UK and was directed to make my way to the Whitechapel Centre, Langsdale Street.
"I stood outside The Whitechapel Centre like a lost puppy"
On my first day, I met another “lost puppy” who I will call “Roy”. Roy had been there for a couple of days before my arrival. While I was sitting in the Whitechapel, Roy befriended me and made me feel so welcome and began taking away some of the anticipation and worries he could obviously see written all over my face. Roy explained he too had become homeless and went on to explain the process from a resident’s point of view. Roy was on my first 3 sit-ups and both he and Sean, the Whitechapel duty worker made sure that they were in fact 3 wonderful evenings which I enjoyed so much. Roy was found a placement and although I was so happy for him, I was disappointed that he would not be on any further sit-ups. I have mentioned Roy because I know he is on the Volunteers Course and in my humble opinion, he will make a fantastic worker for the Whitechapel, having been through the “process” himself. Roy put at ease and befriended a number of “lost puppies”.
My case worker is a lady called Paulene. Paulene has taken the “work” and passion to a new level. Not having any clue with regards to the “bureaucracy” and paperwork in the UK, Paulene has not only helped me with all that was required, she has helped me hold my head even higher. Again, I could see that the “work” is incidental, because I can see the passion in the eyes of all the staff from the Whitechapel Centre.
I have moved into housing where I can live for the next 2 years. Paulene continues to help and advise me, and will continue to do so until I have finally completed all the “bureaucracy”, which is a great safety net should I require any assistance. This helps people like me to sleep more comfortably of a night and goes a long way towards helping my high blood pressure, stress and other issues.
There must be many thousands of people in Liverpool and beyond, who like myself, have been through the “process”, who are now firmly safe on the rungs of the ladder we call life. If it was not for the fantastic work of the great staff from the Whitechapel Centre, I wonder how many of us would have taken an “easy” option out.