After coming to the UK from Poland, Tomasz, 25, worked in North London. Like many others, he lost his job at the start of the pandemic. With no way to support himself, he ended up on the streets. 

I came to London in 2019 to take a job in commercial waste management. Back in Poland, there were  few job opportunities available. I was working as a waiter but I wanted to do more with my life and improve my English along the way. 

Sadly, when the pandemic happened, I lost my job and was unable to support myself. I was renting a room in a flat in Edmonton Green but couldn’t afford the rent and had to leave. I had nowhere to go and no money so I ended up sleeping on the streets in May 2020 

Being on the streets was horrible and it’s difficult for me to think back to it now. What can I really say? So many things I had taken for granted before were gone. I’d never known what it was like to lack access to a hot shower or a warm bed and to have those taken away was humiliating and demoralising. 

I fell into drugs quickly. When you’re on the streets they’re easy to get and I used them to cope with the pain of what I was going through. I felt completely helpless 

After he was approached by an outreach team, Tomasz received a place at an SHP shelter where he is currently staying while he figures out how to get back on his feet. 

I am hopeful that when the hospitality sectors open up, I’ll be able to get a job as a waiter or bartender and rent my own room again. These are challenging times for everyone but I feel positive that life will get better soon. 

“I am so thankful to be in the shelter now. I am proud to say that I’m clean and having those basic necessities back have helped me to restore my dignity. Addressing your problems is a lot easier when you’re warm and clean! 

Living in a shelter isn’t how I envisaged my life when I came to the UK but I have learnt not to take things like employment and financial security for granted. Right now I am happy just to be safe and have a roof over my head. 

I am hopeful that when the hospitality sectors open up, I’ll be able to get a job as a waiter or bartender and rent my own room again. These are challenging times for everyone but I feel positive that life will get better soon. 

“I am really happy to have the support of SHP staff. They have been so helpful and I know they will help me move on to better things.” 

Helps us support more homeless Londoners off the streets this winter