How did you become homeless?

ZultanI was in the USA for 15 years, and I got back to my country, Hungary, with a lot of money and stuff. The same night, I got robbed. So that’s how I became a homeless person. For that five month period, all I had was my ID card and passport.

In my country, I couldn’t get a job. So I travelled through Italy, but couldn’t speak Italian so got no work. Then I go to Paris, where I stayed for two and a half months, but I couldn’t speak any French either.

So I decided to come to the United Kingdom, and my friends from the USA helped me get some money to travel. I arrived here last year, in June.

I went to London, which is a nice place, but with a lot of not nice people. I wanted to go back to USA, I just needed the proper papers. I asked a charity in London for help, but they told me I’d need to raise the money myself. So I was just back out on the street.

Then I decided to come to Manchester. I heard it was a better place, more work. When I came, I found the nicest people I’ve ever met. Lots of people helping with charities, helping to sort my life out. To get a good job, good house, good future.

What charities helped you?

I found the Booth Centre first. So I slept in the nearest place around there that was safe. I didn’t think the town centre was very safe, with not very nice people. The Booth Centre helped me a lot to get something going on. They signed me up to get shelter in the churches.

City West helped me a lot, to get shelter and get my CSCS [Construction Skills Certification Scheme], and my insurance number.

I am always asking people for where I can get help. That let me find Coffee 4 Craig at the Cathedral Gardens, so I know where I can get food each night to eat. It’s really amazing. These people and this town really help you get what you need.

If you are ready to take that step up, and get help, then the people here can do that.

So how are things now?

I just got a job, teaching younger students on the CSCS, so I’m hoping to get a place to live soon.

It’s just amazing how far I’ve come in seven months, since moving to Manchester. If you’re ready to let people help you then you can go really far in this city.

In a month or so, I might not have to come to charities anymore because I’ll have a normal life again. And that’s what people want – a normal life. God gave us a lifetime, so enjoy your life. Do the right things, do good work and show respect to people, because if you respect people then it doesn’t matter who you are. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

And what are your aspirations for the future?

I am hoping to get a lawyer, so I can sort my papers and get to the USA, because I have family there. I could find them. But nothing is free, it all costs money. At least I have a proper way to start working and making some money now.

It’s hard that I had to start it all again, but it’s okay. Sometimes up, sometimes down – never give up.

In the future I’d like to open my own business, which I have a chance to do in the United Kingdom or in America.

What would you like members of the public to know about homelessness?

People end up on the street not because they want to. Everyone has different stories, different lives, that put them on the street.

I had a normal life before I was robbed, it wasn’t my fault. It’s not people’s fault they become homeless. It could be anything; lost loved ones, lost family, lost business, lost everything they’ve got.

These people really do need help. Not just money, not just food. The right kind of help to get them their life back.

Just treat people with respect. We are all different; the only thing the same about all of us, is that we are human beings. God gave us different lives, to show us that you have to respect that others live this Earth too. If you see you can help someone, don’t push it away – get them the right help, so they can get their life back.