My name is Kai and I am almost 20. I am a huge rugby fan, I like music and I have been at Emmaus St Albans for a month now.
Before I came to Emmaus I was homeless for about a year. I had a number of disagreements with my Mum and Stepdad so in the end I packed my bags and left.
Initially I stayed with a friend for a month before moving to the YMCA, but after falling behind with my rent, I was evicted in May this year, which is when I became street homeless, sleeping in shop doorways, benches and even in mate’s cars. Being evicted from the YMCA hit me hard as I had made a close friend there and I had to say goodbye. There were times that I would self-harm as I felt like my life had gone so downhill and I couldn’t see a way out.
Sleeping rough is degrading and the nights are very cold. During the day it wasn’t so bad, I would hang out with friends as if I wasn’t homeless, but then night would come and it was so quiet and daunting. I would walk around a lot as I was too scared to sleep at certain times. I would sometimes sleep at the top of a car park, as it was out of the way and always empty. Another place I used to go to had a heater too, so at least it was warm.
At this time I was getting support from Wycombe Homeless Connection where I was able to speak to people about my concerns. All the staff there were great and I bonded with them, they spoke to me about my various options and they told me about Emmaus. Two days later I visited Emmaus St Albans, I liked it and the same day received a call to say I had been accepted to join the community. What appealed to me most about Emmaus was the fact that you are working, and at the same time you can make plans to sort your life out and move on from being homeless.
A typical day for me here at Emmaus would be working in one of the five shops, helping on the van or working in the kitchen; there is always a job to be done. I have also joined the football team and I have put my name down for a trip to Germany. The support here at Emmaus from both the companions and staff has helped me to feel part of something which I didn’t have when I was living on the streets.
Having experienced homelessness at such a young age has had a huge impact on me, I have definitely learnt a lot of life lessons that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and I know that I don’t ever want to end up back on the streets again.