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Surviving homelessness

December 19th 2015

On the streets, life is about getting through the day. © Garry McKnight, Creative Commons

Carinya Sharples went along to London’s 999 Club in Deptford and asked some experts – those who had been or were homeless – for their top tips on making it through if you’re homeless in 2016.

“Whatever you do, don’t get sectioned! It totally messes you up. I say: try to maintain yourself, eat healthily, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, take plenty of exercise and do a hobby you enjoy. I play football every Sunday – it takes my mind off my stresses.” Matthew

“Find places which can give you information and advice – the 999 Club and Deptford Bridge have helped me... Places [like this] should put up more posters, though, and have brochures, so you know what’s going on and what’s coming up.” Mark

“I was homeless when I was younger and have had depression too. My advice is: have a positive attitude. Things do fall into place eventually. They’ll be better the next day, and then you can cope for another few days or a week. Just keep taking it day by day.” Anon

“People give me advice but I need to experience it for myself before it goes in. I’ve been in loads of hostels over the years, but now I’ve learned to keep myself to myself: go in, keep your head down, have your food and go to your room. Then you can get your own Council place. Hostels are not nice places: there's drugs, alcohol and bad people – all the things you’re trying to avoid. I sleep there, but in the morning I’m off – I don't hang around.” Anon

“Make sure to check your Council Tax is being paid before you move into a flat. I thought it was coming out of my benefits but it wasn’t. I was left with a £900 bill, so I had to leave.” Anon

“Sometimes going to church is a very good thing you can do. Just to get some guidance, to listen to what they have to say and take out what you need. Plus, if you’ve got no one around, people there will come and say hi to you and talk.” Anon

“Have a glass of wine, a beer, but don’t get drunk. You’re not the same person. When I drank, I thought I was 10 feet tall, but I wasn’t – and that was dangerous, because you're not afraid of facing up to guys much bigger than you. You think you’re having a nice time, but are you really? I’d wake up in a cell and have no idea why I was there. I’ve been eight years sober now. People didn't think I could do it – there's one guy who calls me The Miracle Man!” Felix

See our listings in the middle pages for all the services that can help you or go to

Next: Surviving the streets


Jan/Feb 2016



Call to open buildings

Surviving homelessness

Surviving the streets

Getting off the streets

Body and soul

Making move-on work

Voices of the street: what we can learn from Brazil

Make coffee for change

Young Scots struggle

Bin death warning

The Spice ain’t nice

Homeless: sanction risk doubles

Prof Green on homelessness

Landlord fine for eviction

Advice: self-harm


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