I used to live in London, where my life was an endless cycle of living hand-to-mouth. I depended on benefits for a while, before getting a job as a taxi driver, but daily life was so expensive and lack of money was still a huge problem. To try and get by, I ended up breaking the law by continuing to claim benefits. I was arrested for fraud and given a sentence in a Warwickshire prison. My wife and I divorced whilst I was inside, and so when due for release, I found myself homeless; I had nowhere to go and was facing living on the streets.
Thankfully, the Managing Chaplain of the prison told me about a charity called Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire, which was based nearby. I completed the final weeks of my sentence on licence as a companion at Emmaus, and have been here ever since.
Life as a companion has been really beneficial for me. It’s given me a warm, safe place to live with a good atmosphere. I really appreciate the fact that I’m living with a mix of people from many different backgrounds, who have all experienced homelessness in some way. We all support each other as much as we can.
Another important part of my life at Emmaus is my work. I help the charity run their shop near Coventry city centre. I’ve acquired new skills, including customer service and self-management, as well as learning to drive a 3.5 tonne van to assist with collecting and delivering furniture for customers. I hope to continue driving as a full-time job in future.
Thanks to Emmaus, I’m now back on the straight and narrow, and my life has begun again.