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    World Homeless Day
    2021

Yesterday, 10th October, marked World Homeless Day. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to people who experience homeless needs locally, and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness.

World Homeless Day 2021

Yesterday, 10th October, marked World Homeless Day. The purpose of the day is to draw attention to people who experience homeless needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness.

At Kenward Trust, our services are designed to help provide support to those affected by addiction, homelessness, and crime. Homelessness and addiction are intrinsically linked, so ensuring that our residents have a safe place to live that won’t continue to feed their addiction once they leave our services is key. 

Our Resettlement project, consisting of Kenward Lodge and Move On provides supported accommodation for individuals who do not have any accommodation and have been through a recovery programme, or would like support to access community drug and alcohol services. Residents tend to remain within our Move On houses for up to two years, whilst they find longer-term accommodation and voluntary or paid for work, helping them get back on their feet and remain in their recovery.

Here is a testimonial from Paul, a resident of our Resettlement Project who was homeless before accessing our services at Kenward Trust:

“My name is Paul, I was born in 1969 in Liverpool, I had five Brothers and a Sister, our Dad was an alcoholic which meant it was not a good upbringing for us. I got put in a children’s home for a few years, which I don’t talk about, and in and out of the care system until I was 18 and then my Dad introduced me to alcohol. I first had the experience of being homeless when I was 19. I felt like a wanderer but found a new family on the streets. Later in my 20’s as well as alcohol, I found drugs - crack cocaine and heroin. This took over my life and trying to survive, seeing many people dying on the streets, I would move from city to city to get away from it. If I did get into a hostel, my addiction would mean I had to leave. 

On the streets, I would busk by singing and playing my guitar for money. I still have that guitar, although it looks a bit worse for wear. The motto on the streets was ‘be lucky’, and we would always look after each other. The weather was the hardest thing, I would make shelters out of pallets and cardboard, but if we had to sleep in shop windows we’d always tidy up in the morning so they could open and I'd stash the cardboard during the day. I’d go through skips to find cardboard, and if you found a pillow or duvet that would be mustard! Sometimes we were really lucky and got to sleep in a multi-storey car park.

My Dad died in 2003 because of alcohol. I am still in contact with my Mum. I stopped the drugs in 2010 when I was living in Bognor but alcohol became a bigger problem and I’ve got Cirrhosis of the Liver. I spent the last 11 years on the streets in Brighton where I met my beloved street Wife Caroline, who sadly died in 2015, from pneumonia, she was only 41. I was close with her Brother Patrick too who also took her loss hard. We stayed together on the streets. 

In 2019 I was put in a detox and then came to Kenward for the first time. I felt a lot of fear and was not ready. After five and a half months I walked out with two coats on and my guitar and headed back to Brighton to find Patrick. As soon as I got back there I picked up a drink. In August last year Patrick died from an alcohol withdrawal seizure, after his funeral, I drank until I was ill in hospital and then one day I decided I’d had enough and I picked up a glass of water instead. I detoxed myself which was not good but then I got another chance at Kenward which I couldn’t believe. This time I worked hard, I didn’t want to be dead like Caroline and Patrick. I faced my grief and went to every group. I made some best friends. I am still in contact with them now and we help each other. 

On March 3rd this year I moved into one of Kenward's move-on houses, as I knew I couldn’t go back to Brighton ever again. I was nervous but I knew it was zero tolerance. I couldn't drink and be homeless again. Sometimes when it was freezing cold or raining I would stand outside and remember that feeling, and then go inside to my room and feel the warmth and I’d pinch myself. I look at my lovely room, and my Kenward Certificates, and I feel peace and tranquility, and I’m safe. I do AA meetings nearly every day and I have completed the 12 steps for the first time in my life and I am now 1 year and 34 days sober. I miss Caroline and Patrick, but I love my life now thanks to Kenward.”

Kenward’s Resettlement Project is funded entirely by Housing Benefit, so if you know someone who would benefit please get in touch with our team by ringing 01622 812603 or emailing martin.gregory@kenwardtrust.org.uk

 

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