Matthew, 35, found himself lost in a cycle of prison and homelessness when he moved to London from Yorkshire ten years ago. He is now living in one of our cold weather shelters in Kings Cross and is determined to get his life back on track. 

“When I was on the streetit felt like I was stuck in a time warp. It’s hard to explain but you lose faith in yourself and other people and days are all the same. It’s like time doesn’t pass. Drugs ruled my life and I was reluctant to get help. I didn’t think I could be helped. 

“I stole to feed my habit and had stints in prison. When I wasn’t in prison, I slept rough. I lost my dignity. My relationship with my family had broken down and I had no one to turn to.

When I was on the street, it felt like I was stuck in a time warp. It’s hard to explain but you lose faith in yourself and other people and days are all the same. It’s like time doesn’t pass

It was the persistence of outreach teams that finally convinced Matthew to get help. 

“I didn’t trust anyone who told me they could help. I didn’t think anyone actually could help me and I just wasn’t in a place to accept assistance. But the outreach teams kept coming and telling me that I didn't need to be on the streets. In a way, they were one of the most consistent things in my time on the streets. They would offer to help me get into accommodation. Eventually I accepted help. 

“I’ve been in a shelter for around two months now and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I’m on a methadone script now and I have somewhere warm and safe to sleep. I feel healthier and stronger than I have in as long as I can remember. My mental health is so much better too. The constant worry about where I will sleep and where my next meal will come from has subsided. It’s given me space to confront issues that I buried when I was on the streets. 

“I feel so positive about the future now. There are so many things that I want to do but now I am prioritising getting better enough to see my family in the near future when travel restrictions have lifted. I feel so excited when I think about visiting them when I’m better. 

“I wish I hadn’t waited so long to get help. When I see rough sleepers on the streets now, I tell them that they should get help when it’s offered to them and they should never feel ashamed. A better future is always possible.” 
 

Help us support more homeless Londoners off the streets this winter