Derege, 53, lost his job and his home when the pandemic struck. With nowhere to go, he found himself on the streets.  

This Christmas, we're helping thousands of homeless Londoners like Derege. Support our work now.

“I was a carer before
coronavirus hit, but I lost all my clients when we went into lockdown and I couldn’t pay my rent. I didn’t know what to do and ended up sleeping rough in Brixton. Being on the streets was tough. I just didn’t know what to do to get out. I didn’t have a way to make money and rent somewhere to live so I was completely stuck. It’s hard to keep your dignity when youre sleeping rough and it was even harder over lockdown because even places like public toilets were shut. It was a very dark time. 

“I was found by Streetlink after a few weeks and ended up staying in a hotel in Clapham for a short while before I was referred to SHP where I met my support worker Emily. She helped me find a flat and I had a roof over my head soon after. I was amazed at how quickly it all happened! 

Now that Derege has a home, he is looking forward to what happens next and hoping for a new start in 2021. 

“I’m excited to start supporting myself again. I’m on some courses to learn new skills which can hopefully help me secure a job. I’m particularly interested in construction. I actually have a degree in civil engineering so I have an understanding of the industry. I’m doing a construction course and hope that that can lead somewhere but I’m also keeping my options open – I've even been thinking of becoming a bus driver! 

“I also hope that I can do some charity work in the future because I know how important it is to help others. My experiences this year have definitely made that clear. Emily has been on hand to help me sort myself out and I want to be able to provide that support to others too. 

“Christmas is a very important time of the year for me as a Christian. After such a crazy year, I am very grateful to have a place to call home where I can be for the festive period. It will give me the time and space to reflect on everything.” 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve been at the forefront of a collective effort to place hundreds of people who were sleeping rough on the streets of London, into safe, emergency accommodation. But we didn’t stop there. We helped over 300 people move into a place they can really call home for good. People just like Derenge...And we need your help to find at least another 100 people their own permanent, safe and secure homes by Christmas. Support us here.