Rebuild lives with us


When a St Mungo’s outreach team found Tracy, she had been living under a bridge in Tottenham for eight years.


“I was begging at the train station in the day, a working girl at night, and I didn’t want any help.” 


After the birth of her son, Tracy experienced post-natal depression. She left her family home and ended up sleeping rough for the next 18 years, becoming addicted to heroin during that time.


“I didn’t wake up one day and think ‘I’m going to become homeless’ or ‘I’m going to become an addict’. Something happened to me, and unfortunately I took the wrong turn.”

Image: client

Poor mental health is one of the leading causes of homelessness, and without the right support, people can struggle to escape the streets for years on end. People with mental health problems sleep rough for longer because many find it hard to engage with and trust homelessness services. They may also end up using alcohol and drugs to self-medicate, or simply to help them sleep and feel less cold.


Combined, these factors make it harder for someone to reach out, and harder to move on. But, with long-term specialist support, people can overcome difficult times, and move on from rough sleeping, permanently. That’s how Tracy was eventually able to begin to rebuild her life.


The outreach worker, Mark, kept coming back every week. We built up a relationship, and I started to trust him.”


Nearly a year after they first met, Tracy finally decided she was ready to start moving on. She asked Mark if there was a hostel to stay in, and he arranged a bed and breakfast for the night. He also made her an appointment with a substance use service, which was the start of her recovery from addiction.


After a few years rebuilding her life in the safety of hostels, Tracy was eventually offered her own flat, where she has been supported by St Mungo’s since 2015. She credits her current growth to her support worker, Christina.


“I can’t imagine my life without her. I don’t have any close family now – no relationship with my sister or my son; my dad and I haven’t been close; and my mum passed away a few years ago. But I’m okay. I have a partner now, and I’ve got a good support worker – that’s all I need.”


Tracy’s story shows that with the right support and guidance, anyone can turn their life around.


Everybody’s path to recovery is different, so the personalised support of our specialist teams, and the trust they earn, is critical in helping people get the care they need.


Regular donations allow St Mungo’s to build long term, personal relationships like those Tracy has had with Mark and Christina. By donating to St Mungo’s, you can help us build even more of these life-changing partnerships, and together, we can transform lives. Click below and start donating today.