From escaping a vicious cycle of substance abuse, to sleeping rough in a car park for ten nights, former Companion Glen's life has changed dramatically since joining an Emmaus Community eight years ago. 

This is Glen's story...

"I became homeless after trying to get out of a rut of substance and alcohol abuse. Having gone to prison five times in three years I knew it was time to eventually do something positive with my life. Like in prison, I was left to my own devices, survival was down to me."

"I removed myself from the surroundings which encouraged drugs, alcohol and violence and moved to Brighton where I had enough money to live on my own for about a month. When it came to asking for housing help from the local council, there was little they could do for me as I had no dependants or major drug or alcohol problems. As a result, I slept rough in a car park for ten nights before moving into a night shelter, which eventually referred me to Emmaus Lambeth."

"The ten nights spent in the car park were tough. There was no help from anyone; it was down to me to make the change. At Emmaus the atmosphere was completely different. Emmaus Lambeth didn't just offer a roof over my head, but a Community where everyone works and lives together. In the car park I encountered many other rough sleepers, but we all merely co-existed. Emmaus is a stark contrast to this – where everyone works together and friendships are made."

"Whilst staying at Emmaus Lambeth I also volunteered for other homeless organisations. Solidarity is a big part of the Emmaus ethos, and I felt that my voluntary work contributed to this. Following my experience as a previously homeless person I saw that Thames Reach were advertising for volunteers. For about six months I would go out on Saturday evenings doing night shifts, reaching out and offering support to homeless people. This usually involved liaising with the homeless organisation No Second Night Out to try and find those who needed a bed on a short term basis, to assess their situation."

"After five years of being a Companion I felt I was ready to move on. I heard about a vacancy for communications and fundraising work at Emmaus Lambeth so I attended an interview. To my delight I got the job! I received full-time employment within Emmaus Lambeth, moving on from my position as a Companion."

"Now two years on, I have been offered the role of Community Support Worker on a short term secondment at Emmaus South Wales. I am now working there until January 2019. I feel my past experiences and the fact I have been an Emmaus Companion gives me a unique insight into supporting people. I am really enjoying myself and the experience I have gained so far has been invaluable as I hope to be able to run my own Community in the future."

We hope that Glen's story inspires other Companions in Emmaus Communities across the UK and also people who may be struggling to see light at the end of the tunnel. Glen's story proves that giving someone a second chance might be the best decision you've ever made! #WorldHomelessDay #WorldMentalHealthDay