I’ve always liked the idea of being able to work within construction on the rails as there are so many opportunities and different types of projects out there.
I first became homeless a few years ago when I had to leave my social housing to look after a friend outside of London. I lost my house as I couldn’t keep the payments up and eventually when it was time to return I had nowhere to go. I stayed on people’s floors, sofas, you name it - I also slept on the streets at one point. For me, being cold and hungry was hard but by far the worst thing was the loneliness I felt. I have a daughter who I couldn't provide for which made me feel like a failure. I want people to understand the importance of family and friends and not taking those around them for granted.
Things started to improve when I trained to be a forklift driver through St Mungos and started to have some money coming in. A friend of mine helped me put a deposit down on a room in a flat and I felt more positive than I had in a long time. Nonetheless, I was still struggling with debts from when things weren't going so well and doing agency work meant the money flow wasn't steady. Then, a few months ago, I got an injury and had to stop working for a bit. There was a long delay in my benefits coming through. I felt like things were starting to slip away again and my landlord threatened to evict me.
My benefits are now in place and I'm fit to go back to work. I have debts to pay off, but for me this is a fresh start. In the future I'd love to keep training within railway construction. For now though, I'm looking forward to being able to pay my rent on time every month and feeling secure in my accommodation again. I want to be able to treat my daughter when I get my first pay cheque through!
Shawn is working with Beam because he's been homeless in the last year and is at risk of homeless again.