Being homeless can affect us all in different way, adults, teenagers and children. This is my personal experience.
I came to Oxford many years ago. After my family broke up, we – my dad and I - were homeless in a city we didn’t know, with no family or friends.
We started off going to the city centre and asking directions for the local Citizens Advice, they were amazing and gave us a list of resources and how to get the help we desperately needed.
The first day we attended meetings at the Oxford City Council then down the local job centre to use the phones to make arrangements. From there we went back to the Council and we were put into emergency accommodation.
The accommodation was basic with beds and a sofa and a kitchen and bathroom. We had no bedding, no toiletries and nothing to use in the kitchen along with no food.
Once we were given a place to stay we went back to Citizens Advice. We were given numbers of charity's, church groups, crisis centres and emergency loans as well as food banks.
The first night we had nothing. But by the second night we had made a home. We were donated bedding and toiletries. We used a local food bank so we could eat. In our time in the emergency accommodation we fixed up broken furniture and we started contacting the numbers we were given to gain support, we were already better off than we were.
We stayed in emergency accommodation for a few months until we were advised to seek accommodation through private renting. We moved and stayed in a private rented accommodation but after a few months we couldn’t afford it.
We were then moved by our local council to temporary accommodation. The accommodation came furnished and we used the Oxford Daily Info to obtain any household needs we couldn’t afford and help we would need.
We stayed in temporary accommodation for a couple of years before being offered a permanent property.
We used the local library to access the internet and we used second hand furniture people no longer wanted to help us get started.
After we were in a better position we looked at giving back to the people and places that had helped us. We sent letters and thanked the council and charities for their help. We donated what we could back to the community.
I was referred by the local doctors to charities where I could make a difference. I began by teaching at the charity “Mind”. https://www.mind.org.uk
I taught music and gave a safe space to those who needed a safe space to talk and relax while teaching them something they grew to love.
I then went onto volunteer at Raw https://www.raw-workshop.co.uk in Blackbird Leys, teaching carpentry and woodwork.
Helping people make cigar box guitars and teaching people how to gain basic d.i.y.
Unfortunately after a personal injury and sickness I was unable to continue volunteering, but always try to contribute in any way I can to the community.
I am just gently dipping my toe here into tenant Involvement and hopefully will be able to share more stories with you as I get more confident with IT.
I have a specific interest in how Anti-Social Behaviour is managed and am looking forward to working with Wendy in that area- reviewing the procedures once I am more confident.
Being homeless can have an effect on us and the ones we love. It can affect our mental well-being and general health. To anyone who is struggling my advice is, there is help out there. People who can help and places you can turn to. As difficult as the time maybe it does get better.
I would like to thank
Oxford City Council
Oxford Citizen’s Advice
Oxford Job Centre
Oxford food banks
Local church groups
And other amazing local charities.
Without our city’s council and charities people like me and broken families like mine would have been left helpless and homeless and we wouldn’t have been able to make it.