I became homeless for the first time when I was 16 years old, due to family breakdown. I didn’t get along with my siblings and this was the cause of my anger issues. I had tried living in private rented accommodation, however I wasn’t able to sustain my tenancy due to being in college, poor budgeting and not being able to hold down a job. This resulted in not being able to afford the rent and being issued with a NTQ. I became homeless again but was not able to go back to my family home.
I had been bullied all my early life and gradually this made me become violent and caused me to mix with the wrong crowds. I became a bully myself and did not trust anyone. I had major issues with trust and felt that I could not rely on anyone but myself. I coped with life by hurting the people that hurt me in the past. I got into trouble with the police on more that several occasions, for reasons such as physical violence, intimidation and bullying; I received 6 cautions and realised that something needed to change.
I moved into Mary Seacole Housing Association in July 2012. I found all the staff very welcoming, and always on hand for help, guidance and support. In fact, Mary Seacole provided me with the stepping stone to build a career in a field of my choice.
I completed various training sessions whilst I was with Mary Seacole, such as: Level 1 in IT, First Aid, Job Assistance, Level 1 in Plumbing and gained a CSCS card. The training was always fun and enjoyable and I felt motivated to learn due to the laid back attitude of the staff in the Training Unit.
I also participated in boxing lessons at Mary Seacole which helped me to channel my anger appropriately. I have fond memories from my time with Mary Seacole; building friendships and participating in the MSHA Sports Day – I never enjoyed group events before; but at Mary Seacole, I was always made to feel comfortable.
The staff at Mary Seacole helped me to address my anger issues – I learnt social skills and felt that I could finally let go of the anger. This is mainly thanks to my keyworker; the main person who put me back on track with my life and supported me to stay out of trouble. Sometimes I would spend hours just talking to my keyworker; my keyworker reinstalled my self-confidence.
At Mary Seacole I also learnt to budget effectively; I was able to buy furniture for my flat when I moved on. I also took on the staff advice, stopped trying to push boundaries and became a stronger person within myself.
When I was with Mary Seacole Housing Association, I set myself some goals: To find employment; I achieved this. To get my own place; I achieved this. Credit also goes to the Resettlement Officer for all the work that she did with me. I also set myself the goal of getting my own car; and I’m working on this at the moment!
The best thing about Mary Seacole Housing Association is that they provided me with somewhere I could call home, they provided me with a steady routine, kept me out of trouble with the police and taught me how to budget effectively.
From where I was when I came to MSHA, to where I am now is a world apart. I now work as an IT engineer at Triage Services, something I could never have achieved without Mary Seacole’s help. I can enjoy life now.