Helping others after homelessness

How our peer mentor John* used his personal experience of homelessness to help customers going through similar things.

Our Peer Mentors are vital to us here at Concrete. They are people with personal experience of homelessness that want to help others build concrete futures too. They volunteer for us and work hand in hand with our customers to help us make homelessness history.

John* became a Peer Mentor for Concrete after going through homelessness himself, he wanted to use his experience to help others going through similar and prove that there was life after homelessness.

“I was made homeless after I’d been seriously ill in hospital and my landlord just came out one day and changed the locks, with no explanation. At that moment I felt like my future was gone and I had nothing.”

“I slept in parks, in a garage and then I went to a local hostel where someone told me about Concrete. I wanted to know more so I walked to where they were based and had a conversation with them. I explained my situation and they helped me to get back on my feet.”

“I worked all my life doing different things. So if you’d have told me all those years ago that I would’ve been homeless I wouldn’t have believed you. But my health deteriorated and I couldn’t work and I ended up losing my home as a result. It’s true what they say being homeless really can happen to anyone, it’s just a change of circumstances that lands you on hard times and suddenly you’re on the streets with nowhere to turn.”

“The help I received from Concrete I really can’t fault. They were so good with me. So when I felt able to I wanted to give something back to show my appreciation and help people going through similar things.”

“I know first hand how hard it can be. When I help people they respect me because I’ve been in their shoes. When I first meet customers and tell them that I too was homeless, they’re surprised because they can’t believe I got through it. I have to tell them that, that was me then and it’s not who I am now. I prove that if I can get through it, anyone else can too.”

“I love being a Peer Mentor, it gives me great comfort knowing I’m making a difference. One of the customers I’m currently supporting took me to one side recently and thanked me for all the help I’d given them this year. He was just really grateful that someone understood him and was there for him. At that moment, I was so proud of myself, thinking about what I’ve been through and how I’m now using it to help others.”

“The long-term plan is to complete some qualifications and work for Concrete part-time because I just really love what I do as a Peer Mentor.”

*WE VALUE THE SAFETY OF THOSE WE SUPPORT, SO WE’VE CHANGED THEIR NAME.

 

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