James was homeless for 20 years. He was battling mental health problems, a crippling drug addiction and on the brink of a life of desolation when he came to Evolve Housing. Despite multiple obstacles and overwhelming odds, James came out a changed man after being given a house and some support to help him on his way.
This is his story.
My name is James, I am 50 years old.
I lived on the streets of King’s Cross for 20 years. I was living under buildings and had drug use and gambling problems. My family knew what I was doing but I did not want them to see me in that state. I was in a very dark place.
'I had lost everything'
It took me a lot of courage to decide to turn my life around. I had lost everything and had nothing to lose. I went to the doctor, and that was daunting. They told me I had Bipolar Disorder and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). I started to take medications and slowly gain control of my life again.
Turning his life around
My doctor was concerned that I would relapse so he helped me apply for community housing. Within three weeks I was given a place to live by Evolve Housing. I moved off the streets and moved into my own place for the first time. It felt surreal. I was incredibly grateful to have been given this opportunity. The place is mine and I feel safe in it. It’s my responsibility and I make sure it’s tidy and well taken care of. And like everything, you look after it and it will look after you.
A housing manager who went above and beyond
I am also very thankful to have met Maria, my first housing manager. She was very supportive and gave me the confidence to start over my life. Her values and beliefs have had an impact on me when I was in a vulnerable point in my life. She went beyond her means to help me and is just an unbelievable person.
'Lucky to have survived'
Looking back, I was lucky I survived this journey. I really am one of the lucky ones who can say that I came out the other end. Many people don’t. We are human beings after all, sometimes when we are down on our luck we just need some encouragement and help. I am glad I got mine through community housing. Without it I will not be where I am today.
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