How did you come to GrowTH?

“I was unemployed and sofa surfing at a friend’s house and I was put in a situation where my flatmate had issues where his daughters had to move back into the house. I had one week to try to sort out accommodation with no money.”

Tarik slept rough for two nights before Crisis Skylight were able to refer him to GrowTH. We ask him what that was like:

“Sleeping in a corridor! Even just those two days on the streets were enough to realise never to take shelter for granted again. The first night [in the shelter] was relief. When you go in and there’s a bed you’re not thinking of anything else! Before then I might have said ‘Maybe I’ll need a hotel’ or something like that but when you’ve slept in a corridor on the cold cement everything changes – your whole perspective changes and you appreciate the small things. GrowTH is a wonderful set up. You have really, genuinely good human beings who consider other people at all times. The volunteers were some of the best people I ever talked to.”

‘A burden lifted

“I stayed at the shelter and I got a text message saying to go to a property management company which GrowTH knows. It just happened so quickly: ‘This is the house, do you like this one?’ and I was like ‘Yes! Do I like it? Of course I do!’ I wasn’t expecting that. It was just such a sigh of relief because you’re carrying your whole world with you on your back for the time you’re going from shelter to shelter. When you finally put that rucksack down into a place of rest it’s one of the best feelings I can describe. Literally a burden has been lifted. You have somewhere to sleep. You don’t have to walk around with a rucksack unless you want to! I think I was very lucky for my situation to be sorted out as quickly as it was. At the moment I’m just appreciating every day as it comes.”

‘It opens your eyes’

“Homelessness can happen to anyone. I was working in sales as a consultant at one stage in Canary Wharf. You don’t think things can go bad in a really short turnaround. That’s an important thing to remember: things can go really bad really quickly. Now when I walk down the street I can tell the people who are suffering. It opens your eyes to appreciate what you have in life. After you’ve been through this you should take time to reflect and think of others, the homeless especially. Because if you have rain falling on your head and it’s cold and you have nowhere to go that’s when it really dawns on you what they’re going through and I can never forget that. I’ll never forget that.”

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