I attended a rehab program in Luton in 2005 but I didn’t stick with it or attend group therapy, so obviously it didn’t work. But coming through Evolve Housing + Support was different; the people here are really supportive. They are a homelessness charity that genuinely wants to help the homeless in London. The staff don’t just forget about you after you leave, they do try and keep you in the loop.
I was with Evolve for 6 months; 12 weeks with the Keystone rehab programme and then into the ‘second stage’ accommodation and then 3 months later I had moved out to live independently with floating support.
Evolve gave me a lot of assistance which prepared me for moving on. I was welcomed into all of the support groups at Evolve and the key work sessions at Keystone House- it’s an open invitation and I know I’m still welcome to come back.
After I left Evolve, I wanted to give back and so I’ve helped on interview panels, training sessions etc. I’m still in touch with the friends I’ve made in the hostels.
What’s my life like now? It’s fantastic! Evolve has helped put me on the path that I wanted to be on. I’m training to become a Social Worker. I’m also very busy and I do lots of volunteering with alcohol addiction and mental health groups. It’s put me on the right track again. My health has improved a lot too- my mind, body and soul are all in better condition now.
My advice to customers who want to move on would be: never forget where you’ve come from, but don’t let that be your future. Stay involved in recovery- mutual aid, volunteering etc- being busy helps with my recovery and to keep it, you have to give back to others
As for practical housing advice: look into what gas and electricity companies are offering vulnerable people and sign up for that deal straight away.
Home Furniture in Croydon is a good place for picking up bits and bobs for your new place.
The Soup Kitchen in Croydon on Sunday in the evening can help you get free furniture- even if you have to wait for it sometimes; they do come through for you.
Now that I have moved on, my dreams for the future are to qualify as a Social Worker and go onto have a family, and a home, and a happy, healthy life- I think that’s all you can ask for really!