Please note these responses were taken from a phone interview with Harry* on 1st March 2021. Harry’s answers are as close to the original as possible. Small grammatical changes have been made for readability purposes.

It’s the little things in life that you don’t always realise are there until they are not there.

Harry* current Vineyard client

What experiences do you feel were specific to you becoming homeless?

A breakdown in communication between me and my family. The family way of life was not how it should have been, lots of arguments, my girlfriend’s uncle beat me up and my mother wanted me to call the police but I didn’t so she kicked me out. I became homeless, staying in crack houses, tents, abandoned buildings, selling drugs to survive. I made my life for the last 6 years from drug dealing.

How did the vineyard help you overcome these experiences? 

Mentally – my mental wellbeing was in a really low spot. I split up with my girlfriend which became a positive because it helped me to stand on my own two feet. I kept pushing myself to have a drive to get out of it. If it was not for the Vineyard I would probably have still been drug dealing as I did not have enough drive on my own to pull myself out of it. I didn’t have very high hopes for getting myself out of my situation. My family relationships started getting better once I moved into the Vineyard. I did not think that would have happened. I never used to really speak to them too much as I was in my own little world.

What changes did you feel like you needed to make before you came to the Vineyard?

Stop taking drugs. I have been clean off all this for about a year. I still have the occasional beer!

How has living at the Vineyard in particular helped you to make these changes happen?

The support of Tom. He has been absolutely amazing. If I ever needed someone to talk too Tom was always there to listen and help. It’s the little things in life that you don’t always realise are there until they are not there.

What has been the most helpful aspects of the support you’ve received?

Understanding the letters I am getting. before I would just lose my temper and get angry when I got them, but Tom would help me to understand them and think more rationally about how I needed to respond.

Has anything made it more difficult to receive support?

Having no support until I got contact with outreach. It’s hard to understand homelessness if you have never been there and how to reach out for support. I didn’t know about the outreach services or who to call. This information needs to be made more available. It might help reduce getting into substance abuse on the streets because when you don’t know much you can find yourself hanging around with drug addicts and then get caught up in that, if the outreach services were known sooner it could help prevent this.

Has anything made it easier to receive support?

Having a phone was helpful. It’s quite difficult to receive support if you do not have a phone number.

Much gratitude and appreciation was given to Harry for kindly providing this interview.