At first, homelessness is alright, if it is not too cold. Yet the novelty of the freedom runs out and reality sets in. The nice visions fade away and visions emerge as to whether one is going to freeze out at night and where. Freedom being not having to get back home at a certain time.
It never once occurred to me, in all the homeless years, to simply get my name down on a council flat waiting list. Then I started wishing I did have a flat. Homelessness then reached its last, miserable days. I finally used my initiative to get my name down on the council waiting list.
Goodbye to the harsh reality and the freezing weather conditions. Goodbye to homeless visions, altogether and hello to a Bayswater flat! The flat came through within 3 weeks. I moved in on a Friday afternoon. It was a one-bedroom flat and, thank fully, fully furnished. I got my bits and pieces into the flat and had a check around. It was beyond my expectations. The kitchen had been freshly painted in green and white and there were black and white lino tiles on the floor. The rest of the flat was painted in a beige colour. I went out into the communal corridor, where I bumped into a woman named Jan who introduced herself as my new, next door neighbour.
I then had a wander around Bayswater. I could not afford much at that stage, just a pizza and a little bottle of red wine to take back to the flat.
When I returned to the flat, I found a small TV with note taped to it, outside my front door. The note read “Jess – it’s in perfectly good working condition – I thought it might come in handy”. The note was signed by Jan, my new next door neighbour.
My first night’s sleep was a bit strange, as I was not used to sleeping in permanent accommodation. I gradually got used to it and got myself into a routine, as well as a kitchen porter job in St James park.
Now, when I see homeless people in the street, my rule is not to give them any money, unless it’s for a fare to a job interview.