“I was homeless for over two years” – man thanks Bedfordshire charity Emmaus for saving his life

"Rough sleeping wasn’t easy - it was dangerous and I saw a lot of horrible things"

As World Homeless Day (October 10) approaches, one man who lost his home and job following a relationship breakdown is thanking Emmaus Village Carlton for helping to turn his life around.

Two years ago, TJ found himself with nowhere to live, having split from his partner.

The 52-year-old said: “I had no relatives around to help me and I didn’t have many friends. I ended up homeless and living on the streets.

TJ at Emmaus

"I quickly lost my job as a builder too: it all just crumbled away. Rough sleeping wasn’t easy. It was dangerous and I saw a lot of horrible things.

"I started using drugs to seek some comfort and block everything out.”

TJ eventually reached out for help and in December 2020 got a place at the homeless charity Emmaus Village Carlton, where he was offered accommodation and support.

He said: “I couldn’t have asked for any place better than Emmaus. I’ve got my own room and importantly I feel safe here. The team supported me through my drug addiction; I’ve worked hard and I’m proud to say that I’m now completely clean.”

Accommodation at Emmaus Village Carlton

Emmaus has rooms open to those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The charity, based near Carlton, offers up to 42 people a home for as long as they need it, with daily support.

To gain work experience, people work five days a week in the community, including helping to run the charity’s shops and bistro, driving to collect and deliver furniture, and assisting with gardening and domestic tasks.

Since joining, TJ has worked to get new qualifications and has started volunteering locally.

He said: “I’ve done a PAT testing course and I’ve got my forklift truck certificate, food handling and allergens certificates and a warehousing qualification.

"Every week I also go out to help rough sleepers in Northampton and Wellingborough with a team from the charity – we’re all people who’ve been homeless and we volunteer to give something back.”

“Looking to the future, I’d like to get a job and my own place. I want to go back into the building and construction trade, but now I also have new skills to fall back on too. Coming to Emmaus has given me a chance to refocus. I can see clearly and I’m looking forward to the next chapter.”

For more information on Emmaus Village Carlton, call 01234 720826 and ask to speak to the support team or visit online