Ron shares his experience of how his life changed when he lost his home and tells how his Hope into Action tenancy is restoring his dignity.

Ron was a married family man who never expected that he would become homeless. But his life changed after a chain of events:

“I had a loan issue, marriage break up, lost my job, health issues, over-priced private rental properties which I couldn’t maintain, sofa surfing with friends. The whole thing just imploded really and that made my life more difficult.”

He spent two years living in a garden shed. “I had access to an outside tap and one electric socket so I had a little access to water and electricity. I became really good at cooking on wood fires. I managed a fairly decent diet but it was very hard work. I was relying on the food bank and some resources from a grant.”

The owner of the garden knew Ron lived there and let him stay in return for gardening work. But it was not a good solution.

“Some of my basic problems were hygiene, getting washed, getting my clothes washed, no lavatory.  So all that tested my resilience, in terms of damp clothes and storing everything and keeping everything tidy and I was finding it hard to engage with anyone for support. I really just buried my head in the sand and just thought ‘this is what my life is going to be’”.

But Ron was able to stay connected to his previous life, “Previously I was a teacher so I was able to continue with some Art classes and help run an Art class but it was becoming increasingly difficult because of my deteriorating personal circumstances. I managed to keep social contacts through churches, because of that I was also developing some connections which meant I was able to eventually be referred to Hope into Action through the church and that’s how things began to turn around”.

When asked what the biggest issues are when you are homeless, Ron has little doubt:

“Lack of access to medical help and other facilities. It’s been a real eye-opener to me to what it means to be homeless and rough sleeping. I started to feel more and more under-valued as a person. At one time I was quite cushioned, being married with family you know, but I’m a good example that it could happen to anyone. We’re all just a step away from it in today’s society. “I think being with Hope into Action, having a secure, safe home and being surrounded by people to support me from the church has given me back my dignity and confidence. I’m still in shock about my experiences – how did I get to that – but I have hope for my future thanks to Hope into Action and church.”

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