Ian slept rough for many years. But he didn’t allow his spirit to dampen and, when the Everyone In scheme began, he was offered a place in a hotel.
“I’ll never forget the day I heard about it. I was out on the streets when a group of people who slept nearby came over to me all excited. They said, “Have you heard what’s happening? St Mungo’s are putting all the homeless people up in a hotel!” Yeah right, I thought. But it turned out to be true.
The next day, we all got on a bus together and were driven to a hotel near Victoria. I found myself with a private room and my own shower. I was given three meals a day. I had been so thin when I first arrived at the hotel but soon enough, I started to gain weight again.
Back then, I didn’t really know much about Covid-19. I’d heard of it and I knew it was a virus, but there’s always been viruses about. I thought it would all blow over in a week or two and then we’d have to go back to the streets. But about two weeks into my stay, I was told I would be staying for a few more months. Then it was another few months after that. I couldn’t believe my luck.
One morning in May, one of the St Mungo’s staff at the hotel told me she’d found a studio flat for me. We went to see it together and then a few weeks later, I got the call to say it was officially mine. I was so excited!