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Thanks for my few free days.

Thank you for my free few days John.

I have been on benefits since my lover died, I had a big breakdown due to the loss and then lost my job, my mortgage and eventually my flat. I was homeless and put up in a council run hostel which really was the worst.

It helped at least get me off the streets.

I had sofa surfed for a couple of months but because of my deteriorating mental health it was not easy to be around me as my mood swings were somewhat tempestuous and irregular and must have been like walking on egg shells around me. Friends could only take so much of me on their couch before I had to move on.

Big thanks to each of them.

I went from one couch to another until having to stay at the hostel or loose any chance of moving forward with the councils help, as I had to be seen to be homeless and while sofa surfing, I was actually not, so had to quit using my friends and stay in the pissy, BO smelling hostel with all sorts of people I would never have mixed with, but when forced to, found a certain amount of comradery and understanding between those less well off than myself and destined to stay homeless because of the way so many fall through the cracks of society. Various charitable bodies help feed the homeless and this was a lifesaver.

Just when I thought I could reach no lower, I surprised myself by sinking even lower still and found myself in a cardboard box one night after arriving too late at the hostel and being locked out. Cardboard city was my lowest point.

I shivered and cried myself to sleep that night under a bridge beside the railroad track.

A friend showed me your venue and he applied and told you all about me and you invited me to come stay. We met.

We chatted.

You woke me up to some ideas.

It was wonderful to sleep in a bed again and enjoy a daily shower and actually eat like a proper human being at a table with others - as it had been what seemed like an eternity on the streets although was actually just 8 months at that time.

With your help and support, I am back on my feet again and it all started with my free stay with you.

Long story - but I got a bedsit, had several interviews for jobs and am now back working in finance - as I was doing before - and climbing back out from that period and starting to make a new life for myself back towards where I was before all this happened.

I have to say though, that it taught me a great deal about how so many LGBT are on the streets and how much mental health there is within the LGBT community and some help each other, while some are a disgrace and just rob you blind, There really are some fucked up LGBT out there who I feel no one can help.

I see this period as a learning curve and I now donate as many hours as I can to helping others on the streets and volunteer for a local charity that helps, and having had experience of living rough, I do not recommend it to anyone.

Like you John, I will now always be more understanding and sympathetic towards those less fortunate, as who knows what story backs it up and who knows what tragedy lies behind.

I am using the library to send you this and because I look clean and tidy these days I am allowed in whereas even on freezing days, being homeless and freezing to death I was refused entry and I was patronisingly told to ' fuck off' and now fight for the right for the homeless to gain access to warm places just to stay warm.

So thanks for your kindness John. I shall return one day but wanted to let you know just how much you helped me and helped change my life after a really bad and down period for me. It can happen to anyone and I hope they have someone like you around to help.

Big gratitude. Bradly.


JB COMMENTS: It is very rare to hear from a free customer after they have enjoyed a free period here at Hamilton Hall. I have always offered this to the needy and have hosted hundreds of free weekends and weeks and almost never hear again from those after they stay. Not a single note of thanks at all;- but I have persevered.

Bradly - your kind and thoughtful e mail was greatly received and thanks for keeping in touch. So good to hear you are doing well and welcome back to the world most of us reside in.

I am proud of you.

John ------------------

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