I lost my partner Lilly on Friday 30th October 2015. She had terminal cancer.
Lilly was ill all year. We were going to Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital and there was a lovely consultant there who said: “make the most of this summer as it will be her last”.
I carry a framed picture of her with me – it goes with me wherever I go. I always have it in my left pocket so it is close to my heart.
Where we were living, the tenancy was in her name and so when she died I had to leave. If I knew then what I know now, maybe there would have been a chance for them to find me somewhere to live. Maybe I wasn’t thinking straight. But in late November I found myself homeless.
Because I’ve been around the Deptford area for 20 years and I know a lot of people. They gave me a lot of support. As it stands I am guaranteed 4 out of 7 nights a week a roof over my head. The rest of the time I am out at night alone. I don’t sleep.
I found one place where I go at night but the other nights I walk around, then I feel tired during the day, and I shut my eyes on a bench as I feel safer sleeping in the day.
My friends kept telling me there was help out there for me. I went to Woolwich Citizens Advice and they told me the 999 Club could give me more help than they could offer me.
Bill finds the support he needs
Coming here to the 999 Club for the first time, I went through one door, but I have more doors to be open. There’s a lot of support on offer here. I know I did the right thing by coming here. I was really surprised at all the services offered. The staff are brilliant. They give me the help I need. They are always willing to listen. Lorna from National Career Services helped me to sort out my CV.
I got help with basic computer skills – Hilary a volunteer student helped me get up an email account so I can get on Universal Jobmatch. Alison, the Advice and Advocacy Manager helped me sort out my benefits. I didn’t know I was entitled to benefits. Alison didn’t mess around – 2 days later I went to Rushey Green to the Job Centre and I got my benefits reinstated. I thought I was entitled to nothing because I was a homeless. I didn’t know I could use this place as a ‘Care-Of’ address.
It’s all part of what the 999 Club offers. Believe me, it all makes a big difference, it does.
Coming here to the 999 Club has been a great help for me. Getting to know people. Finding out about their backgrounds. We are all here for one reason that’s why we are here. It’s a shame I didn’t come down here earlier, but as they say “better late than never”.
You are a lovely bunch of people here at the 999 Club. I want to get involved in the activities, you can count me in. Coming here – I’m getting out of the web. I’m coming here and getting involved.
Illustrator: Sanjana Chandrasekhar