Our growing collection of stories from people who have first hand experience of what it means to be homeless and marginalised.

Scroll down to listen

Simon L

My way out was through education. I wasn’t ready for a job, I wouldn’t have lasted 10 minutes but I’d always loved music, played in a few tragic bands as you do. So I signed up to a course in music production. If nothing else I could learn how to be a bedroom producer.

Summer 2

I’ve been homeless on and off since I was 17, in a couple different states back in America as well as the UK. The vast majority of it tended to be pretty miserable, but there was one part that I sometimes actively miss, and that was tent city, back in Pittsburgh.

Tommy O

I got myself off the street. I went in the library and I was searching for flats. Found one that would take me in with no deposit and sort my housing benefit out. I went and moved in there, Longsight. It took me about 3 months of constant phoning round and knocking on doors but I found it in the end.

James C

When I was 25 I met a girl and we moved in together. She was alright at first but then started being nasty. She would hit me when I hadn’t done anything wrong. It got worse and worse until I had to leave.

David C

I was an angry young man and when I was 16 I found it easy to get into heroine and I got right into it. Not long after that I had a fight with my step dad. I hurt him badly and got a stretch inside. I’d have got longer if he’d pressed charges.



Acclimatising to Autism has allowed me to see the world and my own brain through different lenses, with new understandings and futures starting to reveal themselves and this weekend we finally got possession of mum’s home back; we can now finish our financial and legal obligations, and I am free to choose again.



We’re getting loads of support from Booth Centre and put something back by volunteering. I’m really enjoying it because work makes me feel better about myself. I haven’t taken drugs for ages now and am trying to recover from my depression one day at a time. I feel more hopeful than I have done for years.


My final meeting at work was with my union rep and 2 high ranking managers. They told me that if I didn’t return to work full time and with full responsibilities on the Monday of the next week then I would be dismissed under section 4 of some policy or another. Alternatively I could resign with a month’s pay.

Danny 2

There’s a little bit of a stigma between me and the mayor in that I refused to shake his hand once but I shook his hand on Monday and I was really glad to see him.


In my late twenties I met the love of my life (bare in mind I’m not with her now, haha) she was also in recovery. Together we both improved our lives, we went to adult education and did our English and Maths together. Six years ago we had a daughter, this has taught me the meaning of true love.


I loved my mum but my brother was disabled and it always felt like she was too busy for me. I loved my brother too but resented the attention he got, which then made me feel guilty for thinking like that.

Simon P

This effects every nation, current location

Sat on the toilet at Piccadilly station


Billy used to pass my house quite frequently and I thought, I do fancy you.  I had just started the sale of my house and had recently bought a brand, new bike.  It was red and silver and very flash.

Rob 2

I’d spent time in hostels and shared housing and found these difficult. It was hard not having my own space, especially cos I was dealing with shit at the time. Having that space and security has made it easier to improve my life. Just after we spoke I got a catering job. A flat and a job. All my problems solved. Ha, as if.

Norm 2

I am 64 years old twice divorced, and an ex offender. Trying to find gainful employment, at my time of life, is proving to be one of the most demanding tasks of my life. Trying to even get an interview for a job, at sixty four, is bad enough, but the task is doubly confounded by being an ex-convict.

Jo 2

I suppose one of the reasons I got the job is because of my lived experience although I didn’t put that on my CV, its not something I put on my CV but the mayor’s job was because I’d got that lived experience. I don’t go into meetings going I’m here as someone with lived experience because I’ve moved on from that, I don’t introduce myself as that anymore because people in the room don’t need to know.


At 14, left home and moved in with a lad. I didn’t comb my hair or brush my teeth for years. I think it was my way of keeping people away. I got into drugs, Coke and crack, and for too long I didn’t look after myself properly. For over 20 years I was lost. The lost years I call them. No relationships, no jobs, no goals.

David 3

I was very successful at what I did. I’ve been a Rep, I’ve been a sales manager. I’ve always been in sales or something connected. I’ve been in senior management positions with companies and you got rewarded for the amount of effort that you put into it and the results that you’ve delivered.


My long walk began when I was dropped off at Heathrow airport… Well, perhaps dumped would be a better word with £40 in my pocket. Who would do such a thing? Family! Imagine how I felt watching them drive off.

Sheena 3

I would say to anybody reading this that life can be turned around. There is help and support out there. 10 years ago I would never have imagined that I’d be where I am today. Working with MSP has helped me to come out of my shell, to talk about my past, and I feel so much better for it. I actually think that I can dare to hope for nice things in my future.

Jamie 2

Whilst on my last prison sentence my fiancé of 1 year who was pregnant with my baby, dumped me. It gave me the hardest kick up the backside I have ever had and I decided there and then that I was never going back to prison.


I spent a few nights on the streets sleeping rough, of course got hooked in to that horrible scene with drugs and what-not, and now, I’m not living in hostels anymore. I’m with a charity called Bridge-It Housing. I’ve got my own room and I’m having a hard job fighting the demons like everybody does but I’m slowly winning, and now I’ve got some good support.

David 2

Yeah, I never let things get me down. I always try and think positively. I’m very considerate and empathetic of other people. Whatever strengths I’ve got, If I can help somebody else along the way then that gives me a positive feeling and a buzz that my efforts have helped someone into employment and got their self sorted out basically. That is the main goal at the end of the day obviously.


I tried to commit suicide, and thought, I went back into the hospital voluntary, and I went, I did another three times voluntary, going in, three times I attempted suicide and… Obviously, I didn’t succeed, I’m still here.


I come to London, I start working illegally; if I get cash in hand, I work. I was there during that time, that is the way I live, cash in hand, I work, I work, I work.


I got kicked out of my mum’s, six, seven years ago and, er, I ended up at the Salvation Army hostel in Manchester for two years, and then I was in various, er, housing, er, kind of schemes, then.

Er, basically, I got on the waiting list for housing, I was in the wrong band, which is why it took three years to get this flat, so, yeah, I’ve been there four years now, so it’s going alright.


And then, come back, had a third wife, no kids, but I just found it very hard to settle in life. So I went off again, just drifting, and I ended up back on the streets again, living rough, living in forests. I spent six months living in a, literally, in a forest. And just become a man of the ground, so went back to nature.


In 2011 I committed a crime that I knew would end in a jail sentence. My wife and I split up, and split our money up too, and I left the family home. I had decided to have a final fling and spend all my cash on one last holiday. So with about two thousand pounds in my pocket, and a full tank of petrol, I set off for my favourite part of the UK, Llandudno.

Sheena 2

It was harrowing, having to drag up all the past. It wasn’t easy, but I felt like I got a load lifted from my shoulders by saying it all, when it all come out as they say. Yeah, I was pretty chuffed with myself for doing that, and it did it helped me a lot to move forwards. Yeah, it was good. I now know that I wasn’t the bad person.


And finally, after one and a half years, I was at work, at afternoon shift, and I decided to run away from that place. So, I just ran away from that warehouse, asked a bus driver—I was wearing still a high-vis, work shoes, and everything I was wearing at work—I just asked the bus driver, ‘Can you drop me to the city centre?’


I was like, ‘Right, OK.’ So I ended up staying Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights round the corner from the Post Office on Spring Gardens, and it was like, there’s a building right opposite, and it’s got, like, a little ramp on it, but you can go round a little corner thing round the thing, so it’s like, kind of protected from the wind. But also you can’t really see you, do you know what I mean, so as people are coming past… Because the threat… The weekend in town, it’s just manic, ain’t it?


Well now I’m doing a few courses at Back on Track. I’ve done… I’ve started doing Streetwise Opera. I’m currently about to start something in Bolton called Box TV, and they, they’re doing a thing at the moment, the students are doing stuff on, like, mental health issues, anxiety, domestic violence and abuse, and different things like that. I’m going to start getting involved with that.


My fifth night… I came back to Manchester because I enjoyed the time that I was in Manchester in 2015, erm… And then, er, a really bad incident happened, erm, I ended up getting hit with a crutch in my eye, and ended up in hospital for eight weeks, seven weeks. And that’s all going to trial in the next two to three months, so I’ve all that to go through.


First year, I had big money, sold my house. Erm. And it all just went wrong, er, and I found myself facing the fact that I’m going to be on the beach and I said, ‘No, there’s no way I’m going to end up on the beach.’


When you’re here, seeing the people progress, going on to volunteering themselves, or, you know, going out and finding a job, that gives you that, you know, immense joy, because you’re seeing someone progress, and you’re thinking, well, that was me. And I’m in a better place now, not fantastic all the time, but I’m in a better place, and now I’m helping other people get out of that situation, and be a better person for them.


I’ve got a private flat in Manchester. Above an off-licence. [laughs] I know! And I don’t drink! I don’t mind, it doesn’t bother me anymore. It don’t bother me at all. I still know a few people that drink and that doesn’t bother me at all. I don’t mind because I know I can go in a pub and just order an orange or something, I’m fine.


I’m originally from York. Now, I’m in Manchester. I come here… Oh god, about ten years ago, because I had a terrible drug problem, believe it or not. I come to Manchester, from the streets of York, to get clean. And I’ve managed.