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James's Story

James's Story

James was in foster homes and care homes from the age of 6 until 18. When he turned 18, he was left to fend for himself and therefore declared himself homeless due to having nowhere to turn to.

Two years later, James moved to our Coleraine Service for almost 30 months before getting his own place to live, where he lived for about five years. His journey took a turn when he was sentenced to prison for four months and upon release, found himself back in the cycle of homelessness and turned to our charity for support.

During the first few days back with us, James experienced increased anxiety and nervousness about the unknown.

“If it wasn’t for staff members, things would have been a lot different, and I likely wouldn’t have settled here”

Now, James feels settled, safe and knows he can trust staff and avail of support.

During James’s second stay with ourselves, he has worked closely alongside his Harm Reduction Staff and Wellbeing Practitioner to address his mental health, substance, and alcohol use needs. He found these support structures to be beneficial as they were readily available in the project and therefore, he could use the services, seek advice, and ask for support in real time and when it was most needed.

“It is very hard to live in a hostel as I have my own issues with alcohol and substance use and many other clients are experiencing the same thing. It can become easy to get involved in when you are trying to better yourself and better your own life.”

James feels that he has been very well supported in terms of benefits and housing points and has also found great aid in the support received from his Harm Reduction workers and Wellbeing Practitioner. He mentions that staff have a good sense of humour which can help to motivate clients and shape their mood.

James knows that life can be a challenge, but he is taking each day at a time. He feels that he has tackled his issues with alcohol and substances effectively however, he still battles with them every day. James feels more prepared now to manage his own tenancy and settle back into a community. In the long term, James wants to make a difference for humanity and wishes to raise awareness on homelessness need and champion the working poor as they live with the cost-of-living crisis.

Interested in joining our team and making a difference? We’re recruiting now.

At Simon Community NI 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.