“Within 3 or 4 weeks I lost my mum from cancer. And then my girlfriend walked out on me around the same time”.
Within a month, Aaron’s life turned upside down when he lost his mum and his relationship ended, which meant he had to leave the home he shared with his girlfriend.
“I didn’t want to accept what happened. I had everything. Almost perfect. And in three weeks it all went bang, and I lost it all. It was one of the hardest times in my life to be honest, and I’m still recovering from it now”.
To try to cope with such a difficult situation, he ended up turning to drugs and alcohol. He struggled to find stability through this difficult time and, for seven years, was moving between friends’ homes and sleeping rough.
“A few times my tent got ransacked when I was homeless. There’s nothing in there worth robbing, but it’s the point of it all really”.
At this point, he got his first dog, Rex. He kept Aaron company and made him feel safe when he was sleeping rough.
“He got me back to the tent many times where I wasn’t 100% with the world. And he got me back to wherever I was staying at the time or wherever we were sleeping”.
Aaron decided to get another dog, Moz, so he could keep Rex company when Aaron had to earn some money. Eventually, he decided to move to Blackburn to stay with a friend, for a fresh start. However, after a short time, the friend moved in with his girlfriend and ended the tenancy. Throughout winter last year, Aaron found himself back in a tent with the dogs. Aaron went to Shelter Lancashire for support, and they managed to find him temporary accommodation. But his dogs weren’t allowed to go with him, so he felt he couldn’t take it.
“They’ve been with me through the thick of it, and they’ve been my lifeline. Without them there wasn’t much holding me on this planet. They looked after me. They protected me when I needed it. I love them to pieces. I wouldn’t change them for the world”.
Shelter was eventually able to find Aaron a flat where he could live with his dogs. However, he needed some money up-front to secure the property, so his support worker Marcelle applied to get him one of St Martin’s Charity grants. The grant covered his rent in advance, and Aaron has been in his flat, with his dogs, ever since. He is working and enjoying the freedom that having a home gives him. He can now leave Rex and Moz at home so he can go to work and not worry about their safety.
“If it wasn’t for that £78, we wouldn’t have got this place. That’s quite weird, how one little thing like that could stop you getting one house. I’m surprised I’ve got this far this quick, to be honest. I still feel I’m going to wake up one morning and I’m going to be back out there somewhere. But I suppose I will get used to that over time. It’s getting used to having bricks and mortar and windows, not just a zip”.