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Alister's Story

Alister's Story

51-year-old Alister was living with a member of his family in Portadown when the relationship broke down and he was asked to move out. As a result of the family breakdown, he found himself sleeping rough on the streets and unable to sustain his employment due to his situation. Alister realized he had nothing keeping him in Portadown, so he travelled to Larne where he is originally from. Upon his arrival, he managed to purchase a tent and slept under a bridge for extra shelter as the winter months were closing in. One night the temperatures dropped and Alister decided to go to Simon Community Larne to see if they would be able to help.

Alister was greeted by friendly staff who settled him in for the evening, and they made him something to eat along with offering a hot drink. Alister says,

“For the first time in months, I felt safe.”

The following morning, staff helped Aliser to secure a room of his own in Simon Community Larne.

“Within a couple of hours, the staff offered me a bed. I couldn’t believe it, I had my own room.”

In Alister’s first 24 hours in Simon Community, he was welcomed back by Larne’s friendly and supportive staff.

“I was a little bit nervous having never stayed in a hostel. You picture loads of beds in one room. So, I was presently surprised you had your own private space.”

During the first few days settling into Larne, Alister kept to himself as he was cautious of the stigma that is often associated with hostels and temporary accommodation.

“You hear all sorts of stories when you’re on the outside of a hostel, but it wasn’t like that at all. We’re all here for the same reason – to try and move on with our lives after having been through a difficult experience.”

As the weeks past Alister let his guard down, he grew confidence and trust and ultimately accepted the support that was being offered by Simon Community.

“I have become more confident in problem-solving, I am now financially better off, and my housing prospects are looking achievable. When I think back to where I started, I feel more hopeful now.”

The support workers in Larne have helped Alister access the right benefits and assisted with his housing application. Through helping gather his information he has obtained more housing points, to better help get a home of his own.

“They have supported me emotionally, listened to me when I needed to talk, encouraged me to be more independent and helped me keep record of my appointments.”

Simon Community opened its doors for Alister when he was in need during a season of change. And since then, Alister has made great progress, from sleeping in a tent under a bridge to working towards finding his own property and independent living again, with the help of Simon Community support workers we are hopeful he will achieve his goals.

“I think there must be more awareness regarding homelessness. Homelessness is the result of a lot of factors. Unemployment, addiction, mental illness.” Alister states.

Please help us change lives and give hope to vulnerable people, just like Alister, in Northern Ireland by supporting our Autumn Appeal. Donate Now.

At Simon Community, we respect everyone who comes to us for help. While this story is true, our client's identity has been changed to protect their privacy.