Meet St Mungo’s client Martin.
Martin was a tree surgeon, but became homeless after he split up with his girlfriend, who was pregnant.
“I was using heroin, and [my girlfriend] didn’t want anything to do with me. I ended up sleeping rough for three years and living in a tent.”
When he was living on the streets in cold weather, Martin’s dependency on drugs became the main focus of his life: “My mindset was all about getting drugs – I knew what time I was going to be poorly, and I had to score to keep myself well. It was no way to live, but I didn’t know how to stop.”
Extreme cold weather then struck the UK, triggering a Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) response. Sleeping rough in these freezing temperatures could’ve been fatal. But it was then that Martin found St Mungo’s, and was able to take his first step to overcoming homelessness.
It was freezing, but I knew St Mungo’s were offering people a warm place to stay, so I queued up at one of their shelters and got a bed, shower, and something to eat. They have been there for me ever since.
“St Mungo’s even helped me to get all of my ID back – like my birth certificate, my driver’s license and my passport – which meant I could finally open a bank account.”
Two and a half years after meeting St Mungo’s, Martin has now moved into a flat of his own. He goes to St Mungo’s gardening classes every week and is also working towards a City and Guilds qualification. He hopes to get a job as a tree surgeon again.
I’m so proud of how far I’ve come – I’ve got a strong foundation to build on. And I see my daughter, which is brilliant. Without St Mungo’s, that wouldn’t have happened. They really have changed my life.