Caritas Anchor House

Working at the heart of homelessness

Henry's story

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Henry's story

2nd July 2021
“I lost my business suddenly during the pandemic, but being at Caritas Anchor House has given me the head space to not worry about the everyday essentials which so many people take for granted. Since being here, I have felt myself grow in confidence every week.”

Before the pandemic I had been running my own recruitment company for 20 years, specialising in nursing and carers. Around 16 years ago, I unfortunately separated from my family. I managed to navigate this difficult time in my life, staying at friend’s houses and sleeping on their sofas. I managed to get enough money together to privately rent a place, and grow my business.

Things were going really well at my company, the team and our network were growing. No one could foresee what would happen to the job market. At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, there was an initial boom in the recruitment of carers and nurses, but the rising care homes deaths and restrictions on temporary carers led to the market halting. We started to lose income and clients.

My business went down drastically, and I was made homeless once again. This time, I felt bad asking friends for help particularly with Covid-19 restrictions. I felt completely isolated and lonely. The situation felt so drastic that I was embarrassed to tell friends I was homeless, as there were lots of people that looked up to me and thought that I had everything - that I couldn’t possibly be homeless.

When I went to the council, I was not a priority for social housing due to my needs being low. All I needed was a roof over my head, a place to ‘stay home and stay safe’. I was put up in a Bed & Breakfast through lockdown and then referred to Caritas Anchor House in March this year. 

I’ve felt so comfortable being here. I have everything I need - a clean room, shower and a shared kitchen to cook. My keyworker has been like a parent figure to me, she has been so encouraging when I’ve had low moments. The entire team have been fantastic in boosting my confidence and mood, which took a real hit.

Being at Caritas Anchor House has given the head space to not worry about the everyday essentials which so many people take for granted. Since being here, I have felt myself grow in confidence every week. I started to see opportunities in how I could diversify my business, and am now going to focus on recruitment for couriers and drivers for deliveries. We’re seeing a boom in these temporary roles. If I hadn’t been at Caritas Anchor House, I wouldn’t have been in the right place mentally to set myself up again. I would have been worrying about where I was sleeping every night and when my next meal was going to be. I cannot thank the team here enough.

I am feeling so positive about the future. I am looking forward to moving to my own accommodation soon and making my business grow back to where it was before.

My message to anyone that has lost their job during the pandemic is that it is not the end of the world, don’t be too hard on yourself. People should not be down because of something happening that is completely out of their control. Just take every day as it comes and use it as a chance to rethink how you can use your skills elsewhere and embrace the post-lockdown world.

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