Brian is 65 and has been a Reading resident for 35 years. He has been homeless many times over many years.
Brian had an extremely difficult early family life. For a long time he was resilient to the challenges he face, but in 2022, things became too much for Brian and he accepted that he needed help.
“After living a very chaotic lifestyle for a long time, things came to a head for me in early in 2022. At that point, if I wasn’t supported by Launchpad I don’t know where I’d be now.
“I woke up in a car park with rats crawling over me. Can you imagine how that felt? This was my lowest point – the final straw. I was really, really, really down. I am a proud man. But that was just too much. I knew that I needed some help at that point.
“As a younger man I could cope with the challenges of homelessness. When you’re homeless, drink, drugs and the threat of violence are never far away. Back then I could cope with the instability that comes with sofa surfing or sleeping rough for years on end.
“I’m older now, 65 and my health has been deteriorating for some time. I’ve been off the drugs for two years, but I am still drinking – to cope with how I feel. When you’re homeless, drink doesn’t help, but it does also help. Do you know what I mean?”
Brian’s first contact with Launchpad was with the Floating Support team, in February 2022. They quickly referred him to the charity’s Supported Housing team.
“This was the best thing that has happened to me for a long time. The Launchpad team have brought some stability to my life, initially through moving me into their Supported Accommodation. Whilst I was in temporary accommodation, they (Launchpad) also helped me to apply for my full benefit entitlement. This has ensured I can afford to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head.