After working for his employer for over 20 years, Scott, age 51, decided it was time for a new challenge. So in February 2020, he took the brave step of handing his notice in and becoming self-employed. Weeks later the pandemic took hold and it became clear that the global situation was going to have an impact on his plans.
Having had accommodation supplied with his previous job Scott found himself homeless and without an income. He had a bit of money but this soon went on staying in hotels whilst he tried to find work at a time when businesses were closing up for the lockdown.
He was soon forced to sleep on friends’ sofas and spent six weeks living in his car. Scott explains how he was feeling:
“I was anxious and felt down at times. I couldn’t help but wonder what I had done to deserve this and I faced a lot of judgement. But I also knew that I had to keep going and that I would never give up. I knew that only I could get myself out of the situation I was in.”
Scott focused on applying for jobs and even attended an online interview when he was living out of his car. “I put on my shirt and tie, hot spotted my phone and just hoped the interviewer wouldn’t clock that I was doing it from my car.”
Eventually, the situation got too much. With little money and no housing options Scott reached out to the council and asked to be referred to the Nightshelter. “In truth, it was a last resort,” Scott reflects. “I needed a base, a short term long term solution. I wasn’t sure what to expect and as I opened the door to the shelter my overwhelming feeling was one of mass disappointment with myself. How had I got to this at my age?”
“However, it soon became clear that the Nightshelter was just what I needed. It was somewhere where I could start again. The staff understood my situation, they didn’t judge me and they knew what I needed to do to help myself. They didn’t rush me, they gave me time and were so patient.”
After being at the Nightshelter for a couple of months, Scott then moved on to one of our shared houses designed to be a stepping stone to independent living. Scott started to hatch plans and remained focused on reaching his goal.
“I wanted money coming in again, I wanted independence and place where my kids could come and visit me. I have always had a strong work ethic so I just kept going. If you don’t give up, you will do it. The support is definitely there but you have to want to help yourself.”
After accessing support and advice from the staff at the Nightshelter, Scott is now in employment and has moved into his own flat. “I am now back on track. I found the last twelve months a very humbling experience. It is the first time that I have needed help in my life and it is the first time that I have realised that it is there. I was very touched by how much people care, for example the generosity of gifts donated by people at Christmas to the residents at the Nightshelter was very moving.”
When residents arrive at the Nightshelter they often feel that they have run out of options. What soon becomes clear to so many, is that the Nightshelter provides a fresh start and a chance to open doors to new paths and opportunities.