Neil's Story

Neil's Story

Neil is a resident of Simon’s permanent supported housing accommodation. Neil became homeless following a personal tragedy and found himself unable to cope. “I was married for 17 years. She died in 2001 and I could never set foot back in the apartment againfrom that day on. I left everything behind. My children were young at the time so we moved in with my father but after about a year the pressure just became too much. I suppose I was still dealing with the shock of it all, and eventually it caught up with me and I didn’t know what to do.”

Neil spent the six years that followed sleeping rough before Simon helped him to move into their permanent supported housing where people learn the skills that they need to live independently again. The first night I moved in it was raining, torrential rain. I remember saying “Thank God I’m not sleeping rough tonight, I’ve got a roof over my head”. You move from sleeping out in the open to coming in to an enclosed space and it’s yours.”

Neil has been living in the Simon apartment for two years. This type of accommodation has allowed him to learn how to sustain a home of his own, while still availing of the advice and services provided by Simon staff. “This is a stepping stone to get you back doing the basic things that you lose when you’re sleeping rough. It’s the simplest things like making a cup of tea or feeling hungry and deciding what to cook for yourself. It’s that supported independence that allows you to get back into society again.”

During his time with Simon, Neil has completed courses and diplomas and has also attended Simon’s counselling service. He now has the skills he needs to understand and deal with any problems he may face in the future. In the past I wouldn’t have dreamed I would even complete one of these. It’s all through Simon that I have been given these chances.”

Neil is currently looking into moving on to more independent accommodation to be closer to his children and plans to pursue further courses in photography in the future. With Simon’s support to get back on his feet he knows that his wife would be proud of how far he has come.“With the help of my counsellor I have found peace now with her passing. I have been able to accept it. I know seeing my diplomas and achievements she would be very proud of me and how I am now moving forward with my life. That’s all that matters to me, making her and my children proud.”

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