Manuel was living in Victoria and working as a hairdresser when he had complications with his health, and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
‘Once I got ill other problems came up as well and I lost my accommodation, and that led me to be on the street.’
Outside in Westminster at night, Manuel looked for quiet places to lie down. The noise, weather and threats to his safety meant he never got a good night’s sleep, and his health deteriorated further.
‘One time it was about 4am and there were two guys who had been out having a good time, and they jumped on me. I was really deep asleep and the weight of them woke me with such a fright. I was very scared.’
The outreach team spotted Manuel, and he is now staying at The Connection’s night centre while longer-term housing is found.
‘My immune system is down, so I’ll feel ten times colder than you. Coming in to the night centre is a blessing. Now we have hot meals and the food is beautiful. I feel clean and more rested in the morning. The people that work here are nice and friendly. I do feel the night shelter has made a great difference in my everyday life since I became homeless, because I would have nowhere to go otherwise.’
Manuel is concentrating on restoring his heath, and is accessing all of The Connection’s practical services. He is finding the activity groups particularly therapeutic.
‘I am having singing lessons and after the lessons I feel calmer, it is good for me and helps relieve stress. The activities such as photography, singing lessons, mindfulness – all of these things take you out of being homeless.’
‘I see myself as stronger in the future. After this therapy I’m going through at the moment I’ll be able to face anything that comes along. I feel motivated.’