Jo's story

aaLambeth Jo Westwood companion with dog Charlie 44 140814

It was a relief to find somewhere that would take me with my dog, Charlie.

Even though I was homeless myself, I couldn’t think about getting rid of him, his life has already been unsettled enough without me making it worse. Now we have our own room on the ground floor, so he can easily get out for a walk.

My role at Emmaus is to make sure everyone is fed and watered. Most days I’m cooking for about ten people who are working on the renovations at the new St Luke’s project at Emmaus Lambeth.

I’m used to looking after a lot of people, as I always had a full house, having had my three boys very close together.

I became homeless after my family life broke down. After getting out of a difficult relationship I started to suffer from depression. In the end, it all became too much and I was evicted from my home.

I ended up living in a tent in the park for around three months. One day, the police found me and they put me in touch with Thames Reach, who referred me to Emmaus.

Now that I feel more settled again, I can start thinking clearly about the future. I’m really keen to get involved with the homelessness sector. I’ve seen it all, from drinking to violence, to drugs and nothing shocks me. I think that I could really provide a listening ear for people who think that no one could understand what they have been through, and I would love to spread the word about Emmaus.

I think this place is blinding, I’ve seriously never seen anything like it. The fact that you work and the fact that people are kind – well, it means a lot when you’ve feel like no one has cared before.