Some of the people we support struggle so deeply with trauma that even when they have a home they find themselves struggling or completely unable to sleep in the bed, instead they choose to sleep on the floor, on their sofas or sometimes even spending nights back on the streets.

Simon had a very traumatic and disjointed childhood, he did not have the opportunity to learn many life skills we take for granted. He then spent 30 years of his adult life homeless, living on the streets, in sit ups and some stints in prison. Simon was fraught with past traumas and mental health conditions.

Through years of support work, we were able to help Simon to begin to build himself a life off the streets. He was supported through interagency work including NHS mental health services, temporary accommodation and addiction services which helped him to recover from some of his traumas. After many months of work, we were delighted to be supporting Simon into his own flat.

Sadly, Simon struggled with being in his own home far more than we had expected. His life on the streets had been one of freedom, he might have never known where he’d be sleeping, eating, washing or where he could go to get out of the rain. But he would be the one to choose where and how he would tackle the problems he faced every day. In comparison to this 4 walls, bills and his continued struggle to overcome his mental health problems felt like prison to him. As a result, when he was stressed he would return to what he knew and spend a night or 2 on the streets before returning to his flat when he felt ready.

After more support and mental health care Simon was able to spend longer and longer in his flat, until he was living their full time. However, when speaking with his case worker he mentioned that he still wasn’t sleeping in his bed. He said that he felt that he still didn’t deserve or belong in a settled life in a home, even from childhood he barely had a home and his whole adult life he didn’t have one, tragically he’d never been given the opportunity to have a home.

We believe that sleeping in a bed was a result of the last mental barriers he had to overcome, he did not feel worthy of a bed. He did not feel capable to living in a flat and he didn’t think he knew how to live a settled life. It was only through years of support that he was overcoming these traumas and mental health problems which were preventing him from living the life that everyone deserved.

Change had always been slow with Simon but we are proud that after lots of support and care Simon now sleeps in his flat every night. His mental health has increased so much and he feels happy, safe and settled living his new life in his home. He still does not think he will ever be ready to sleep in a bed, but we thick that one day soon he will be ready. A year and a half ago he never would have believed himself capable of spending one night indoors. We are so happy to see Simon living a life he never thought was possible and that he didn’t even think he deserved. He is slowly overcoming a lifetime of trauma and we are all excited for his future.

Simon is an extreme case but a great example of how damaging the causes of homelessness and homelessness itself are. They are so damaging to a person that they need much more than a home or a bed they need support to be able to adjust and learn to live in a home again. This is why we focus on trauma informed long term care, so people can leave homelessness behind for good.

*Name has been changed to protect our friend’s identity

If you would like to support Sarah and people like her on their journey off the streets please set up a monthly donation or one off gift to ensure that we can continue to support people.

Please select a donation amount (required)
Set up a regular payment Donate