How a former homeless man has turned his life around thanks Sheffield charity Emmaus
When Stephen Evans arrived at homelessness charity Emmaus Sheffield, he admits he was at the end of the line, living with no hope and unsure of his future.
Today, less that two years later and thanks to the support of the Emmaus team, he has a job with national fashion chain Pretty little Things and his own rented flat - a long way from the nightmare time when he was living in fear for his life on the streets
“My problems started when I was a young kid just finishing school,” Stephen admits.
“I started college and everything was going well but I ended up getting in with the wrong crowd quite a lot of the time - my mum always used to say I was easily led.”
Things didn’t improve for Stephen even when he began his first job and met new people.
“It was still the same situation, I’d meet somebody and feel I feel I had to prove a point to fit in with people,” he explains.
A volatile relationship didn’t improve the situation - in fact, it simply made things worse after his daughter was born.
“I didn’t want to keep arguing in front of my daughter because that was no good for her but the homelessness started from there,” he says.
“I split up with the mother of my daughter and suffered quite a lot of anxiety and a lot of depression - I thought everybody hated me, that nobody had time for me.
“The longest I stayed on the streets was four weeks and they were the longest four weeks of my life, I couldn’t sleep and I was seeing violence on the streets.”
It was at this point, when he felt there was nothing left for him, that he was referred to Emmaus.
Emmaus Sheffield is the drug and alcohol free project that provides a home, support and work for formerly homeless people in the city.
Through its Social Enterprise programme it aims to provide meaningful work and enable the people it supports – known as companions - to eventually become self-supporting once more.
“Sheffield accepted me and ever since I have been here it has changed my life,” Stephen says.
“I’ve never really had people accept me for who I am but this place has given me everything.
“The staff are absolutely brilliant, it’s like they are a family, it isn’t like they are coming to work and doing a job and then leaving.
“I’ve not had a that much self confidence but I am proud of myself for getting to where I am now with the support of Emmaus.”
To find out more about Emmaus Sheffield, its second hand superstore and its full range of services visit emmaus-sheffield.org.uk