This story was kindly shared with us by someone at Barnabus drop in centre who wishes to remain anonymous…
How did you become homeless?
Well I was studying at Salford, Media and Performance. I was in my first year, and I was going to be an actor. But then my mum kicked me out on Boxing Day 2015. For a while I was trying to sofa surf and still study. But then I failed a couple of my core modules.
They sent a letter to where they thought I was living, saying that I needed to redo the modules over summer to get into second year. But I didn’t get the letter until second year, so it was already started and it was too late to redo them. So everything kind of got worse from there. But it’s starting to look up again now.
Oh really, so where are you staying at the moment?
I’m staying at a friend’s house, which is nice to be fair. So I can’t really complain.
Where did you used to stay?
Outside of House of Fraser on Deansgate, in the doorways at night. I used to get woken up every morning at half 6 by the window cleaner that was just like “alright, I can get you a coffee, but you’re gonna have to go in about ten minutes”. So, I used to do that every day, a little routine, but it was something.
How long was that for?
Ah, that was… from Christmas just gone until a couple of months ago. That was then, but from there I was like sofa surfing with a few friends that were still in halls.
How did you feel those nights that you were actually staying there?
Well, it was no different, like I always kind of felt alone growing up, didn’t have the nicest upbringing I suppose. So it was nothing that different, it was just being outside, dealing with the cold, dealing with the rain, and the snow…
So did you talk to the university about it at all?
Well I tried saying that it’s not my fault that I couldn’t pick up my modules. Is there anything I can do? But it was too late to re-register to do my first year again, and I couldn’t do my second. So I said “Can I take this as a kind of gap year and come back if I’m feeling up to it?” And they said “If that’s what you wanna do then yeah that’s fine”, but I’m not sure to be honest.
So, you’re hoping that maybe next year, if you’re up to it, you can go back?
Yeah, hopefully. But I’m thinking about going back to college to study something else, because trying to just live off acting is not easy.
Is that your aspiration though, to be an actor?
Yeah always, always wanted to be an actor.
Do you know what you’d do instead, if you go back to college?
I’d probably do train to be a chef, or something like that. Because I’ve always enjoyed cooking and I’ve had to do it as well. Like, my mum moved away when I was 15, and only came back very occasionally. She still paid the rent, but I had to go out and get the food and everything, so I kind of started cooking from there.
What kind of thing do you think you’d need to kind of get back on track?
This place has helped a lot – being able to come in every day, to see the same faces that have nothing against you at all. You know, that actually treat you like a human being – it’s brilliant! I’m hoping to be volunteering here soon.
What would you want more of the public to know about homelessness?
That, yeah, even though there is a few people that might be drug addicts or alcoholics, that it’s not all like that. There are just genuine people out here that are vulnerable, and that it’s not their fault that they’re out. They’re just trying to make the best of it.
So, if you do see someone, don’t just think that they’re an alcoholic or a drug user, because most of the time they’re probably not. Like, it’s horrible how many people get walked past and just ignored because of the stereotypes, but it’s not true, not always.