‘This is a new beginning for me’: homeless man saved from life on streets
- Credit: Notting Hill Genesis
A former homeless man told his alcohol abuse could kill him has spoken of how his life was turned around by a support project in Diss.
Rush House supports single homeless people who may have experienced drug, alcohol or substance misuse problems. The project, based on Denmark Street, is run by the charity Notting Hill Genesis, one of the largest providers of housing-related support to single homeless people in Norfolk, including facilities in Norwich, Dereham, Cromer and King's Lynn.
The man, who prefers to be known as Terry, sought help after struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of 18 months caring for his terminally ill mother in Germany.
He said: "At the time I lived each day as it came. After her passing came a moment of realisation - I had no home and everything was knocked for six: uncertainty, no self-esteem, no confidence, everything was overwhelming."
Terry was put in touch with Rush House where staff support people with recovery from addiction and building stability in their lives with the ultimate aim of moving on to more suitable long-term accommodation. But this initially proved problematic as Terry battled depression and dependency.
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"I over-indulged to suppress all my negative feelings and as a consequence became very ill," he said. "Notting Hill Genesis was very supportive but they only knew what I would tell them. Upon a moment of realisation I started to use all the support the scheme had on offer."
Terry's support worker, Nick Reed, said: "The change I've witnessed in Terry is astounding, he truly is an inspiration. He's put so much work in, too much to mention, around his mental health, finances, rebuilding relationships with his family and friends and coping mechanisms in order to stay abstinent from alcohol.
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"Today Terry now has his own flat and is no longer living at the scheme. I have visited him at his new address and he's settling in nicely and is happy to have his own space.
"Just seeing Terry, smile, laugh and live his life reinforces that anybody can make a positive change in their life no matter the barriers."
Terry added: "This is a new beginning for me and I could not have done it without the support I have had. The uncertainty, self-esteem, confidence and health is still not quite where it was but I am far further forward than I would have been had I had to go through this alone."