Richard had been a stay at home dad for eight years when his relationship broke down with his wife. Two and a half years ago he started sleeping rough:
“I was living in a nice apartment, in a nice complex in a very nice part of town. When I slept rough I slept over the road from where I’d been living. The principle reason that I was still going back during the day was to look after my children and take them to school.”
“Things started going downhill, sleeping out wasn’t a long-term thing that I wanted to do. I got assessed at The Connection, told them what had happened and got put in the night shelter here.”
With the help of staff at The Connection, Richard is now living in Building Prospects, affordable housing managed by The Connection in Westminster, where he sees his children regularly.
Over the last few years, Richard has worked hard to gain skills, so he is able to stand on his own two feet again. Richard has completed the Build a Bike course, passed the European Computer Driving Licence and completed a year-long course in massage therapy – to support himself in the future, as his eyesight declines.
Richard has also sought solace by working in the Art Room, alongside Mark, Art Tutor at The Connection:
“I do a lot of art as well, because I’m not a drinker and I don’t take drugs but you have to do something which takes things out of your head… I now do it four mornings a week and it helps. It really does.”
Richard’s next step will be working as a trainee in a hostel for homeless women, putting into practice some of the skills he’s learnt whilst he’s been at The Connection:
“But in the next couple of weeks, I’ll be out of here… everything I’ve learned here, everything to get into work, everything for the skills is down to this place. And I won’t forget that, no….”