Manuela’s story

Manuela was helped off the streets by outreach during the cold weather in December, as part of the severe weather emergency protocol. Now she is a permanent resident at St Mungo’s in one of our pet friendly hostels.

I’ve been at this St Mungo’s hostel since December with my dog Ronnie. It’s been a blessing. I’m a lot more positive here then I was before.

I was sleeping rough since 2014, because the council didn’t understand my disability and they stopped the rent. They thought that I wasn’t cooperating but I was. It was very difficult for me to deal with people.

I had been living with my daughter and her baby – my grandson. The police came and we were evicted. I was separated from my grandson and I ended up street homeless, living by the canal and sofa surfing. It was a really horrible and stressful time, having to be separated from my grandson, because he is very close to me.

When I was on the street, I would sleep in a sleeping bag by Regents Canal in Camden. I would sometimes be able to stay at a friend’s but sometimes it wasn’t possible. I would have the odd night in a hotel. But they wouldn’t let me stay every night. I was just so desperate.
I had a dog at the time but I gave him to a friend to look after, because caring for him on the street was difficult. I missed him but I thought it was not a good home for him to sleep on the pavement with me.

I found a couple of people that were homeless as well and so I felt a bit safer when I wasn’t alone. I didn’t like being alone.
There were some nights where I would share a mattress with my friend outside the station when it was snowing. We would sleep on the mattress and have his dog between us to keep us warm. I wouldn’t want to sleep on a concrete floor.

Sometimes you would need the alcohol just to keep you warm or to feel tired. Sleeping was dangerous; you would never know when a place was private.

Now that I’m here it’s really good for me. I get amazing support and am progressing. They also let me take Ronnie in. I’ve been involved with music and gardening. And I see my grandson now, like today I’m going to pick him up from school.

I like that I can feel recharged here and have privacy. I think it’s absolutely beautiful that they let pets in as that is very important. I think that’s what makes it special and unique. Because I mean it would have been a drama if Ronnie couldn’t have been here!

In the future I hope to be in a nice place my grandson can come and stay and that Ronnie and I can stay together. That’s important for us.

I just want to say thank you to St Mungo’s for being here for me and for having this facility so that I’ve had a chance to come out of homelessness. Before I was just scared walking around with a lot of bags.

It’s completely different here. I can refresh and the stress rush I used to have is gone. It’s like God is overriding.

Here at St Mungo’s we recognise the powerful emotional support a pet can provide. That’s why we are one of the only charities to accept pets in our hostels. By donating to St Mungo’s, you can help save two lives from homelessness. Donate today.