Worthing man reveals how virus outbreak left him sleeping rough: “I never would have been homeless if Covid hadn’t happened”

A Worthing man who has been assisted out of homelessness by the charity Turning Tides has revealed how the coronavirus outbreak led to him rough sleeping.
Turning Tides has seen an unprecedented demand for its servicesTurning Tides has seen an unprecedented demand for its services
Turning Tides has seen an unprecedented demand for its services

Dave, who did not wish to reveal his surname, had handed in his notice at work a couple of weeks before the Covid-19 lockdown was put in place and had lined up job interviews for the following week.

However, the lockdown presented recruitment difficulties and opportunities did not materialise – leaving him unable to continue paying rent.

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Dave could not live with his Grandmother because she was considered high risk and was self-isolating.

And so over Easter, Dave was forced to sleep rough, something he never imagined would happen to him before the Covid-19 crisis dramatically changed his circumstances.

Dave got in touch with Turning Tides and within a week was off the streets, temporarily housed in Worthing and no longer subject to the significant risk of catching the coronavirus.

Dave said: “Before this crisis I was employed, paying rent, living in my flat and getting on with life.

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“I never would have been homeless if Covid hadn’t happened. Everything had a knock on effect.

“Turning Tides really saved me, I don’t know what I would have done without everyone’s support.

“They have helped me with everything – I am even applying to work for them as a Relief Worker.

“My grandma sobbed when she heard I had somewhere to live during this crisis, my whole family are just so relieved.

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“I am just waiting for Covid to end so that I can resume my normal life again – get a job, get a flat and carry on.”

Robert, another Turning Tides client, who is 51 with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, is also currently staying in temporary accommodation.

He said the coronavirus situation had been ‘hard to cope with’.

“I was really scared when the night shelter had to close due to the social distancing measures,” he said.

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“I had been using it instead of sleeping on a relative’s sofa, as the sofa really hurt my back.

“I then found I couldn’t sleep on the sofa anymore as my elderly relative needs to keep away from people.

“I am happy with my Temporary Accommodation but worried about when this will end, and what will happen to me when it does”

Turning Tides has launched an emergency appeal for funds so that it can continue to help homeless people during the coronavirus crisis.

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The charity has seen an unprecedented need for its services in the last few weeks – and the rise is set to continue, according to chief executive John Holmstrom.

At the same time, the cancellation or postponement of all its community and fundraising events could result in as much as a 50 per cent reduction in fundraising income for the charity.

Mr Holmstrom said: “We have never seen anything like the situation we are facing now and urgently need to ask for help.

“The picture we are facing as an organisation is deeply troubling.”

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To donate to the emergency appeal, visit the charity’s website here.

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