So today I was running through my city centre to get to an urgent appointment. Someone called my name but I couldn't recognise anyone when I looked back.
After my appointment I went back the same route to notice that the man who had been calling my name was a homeless man.
He was actually my first boyfriend in high school.
I bought him some food and had a brief chat.
He said that he has no family and his business had gone under. Has a brother that he won't speak to and no friends left. Said it was his first night sleeping rough. I don't know if I believe that though.
I said I was going to come up with a plan to help over night and return back to help tomorrow. I wish I could've stayed longer but had to collect dc from nursery.
I'm going to make some calls in the morning.
I just feel really bad about it. Some parts of the story didn't add up. He has lost a few teeth and the whole thing felt really sad.
I feel I should have done more tonight to help. I don't know what to do that will make a big difference to him. He seems proud.
What would you have done?? What would you do tomorrow??
It's much more complex than just finding a place to sleep, sadly. It's about getting to the bottom of what led him there.
Probably the best thing you can do is make sure he's in touch with whatever services are in your area - soup kitchen, night shelter, Emmaus, Salvation Army etc.
Take him some food, or acts of kindness, but don't feel you can fix things for him. Just basic humility, that's the best you can offer.
Thank you, that's what I thought. I could pay for a hotel but it's not going to solve anything in the long run.
It's a shock, you never expect it to be anyone you know....
You're so lovely but be careful. It's an unusual situation because you know him personally but ultimately you are not responsible for him. But I'd want to help too.
And anecdotally, I work with vulnerable adults and the ones with multiple missing teeth are usually drug users / ex drug users or alcoholics / ex alcoholics. But not always!
Crikey, a tricky one. What was he like as your boyfriend? Was he a decent bloke, or manipulative/violent/other issue? Do you think he has alcohol issues?
It's good you got him food. You might give him money for a hostel or a local YMCA hostel for tonight/tomorrow. Did he have a sleeping bag or anything?
I know from a recent experience (not me, homeless person I helped) that it only takes a few weeks to go from looking like everyone else, to having that 'homeless' slightly unkempt look, frayed collar, a bit of grime etc.
He really needs expert support. Can you refer him to a local homeless charity? Some ask you to report the location and they send out support workers and try to sort out the wider issues (benefits, accommodation). Then you could keep a kindly eye on him, provide a listening ear, take him for lunch sometimes, use your connections to find him some work, treat him as a friend, not a 'homeless person'.
Are you wondering if you should have taken him home? If it was a current friend I would, but someone I hadn't seen in years and had no idea what had happened since, I wouldn't, for my own/DC's safety. Tonight I would look him up on social media, ask around a bit, see if anyone knows more to the story.
Tomorrow, possibly knowing a bit more, and after consulting local homeless charity, I'd go back, take him to a cafe for lunch, with a notepad and pen and talk to him. You won't be able to fix everything for him yourself.
I took a homeless guy home for dinner a few times (same bloke). DH was there and we didn't leave him unattended (except in the shower!), we took various precautions. Offered him the use of our shower, offered some older clothes of DH for interviews etc, gave him a decent meal with lots of vegetables as well as meat, sent him off with extras in a tupperware. Helped with his job search, interview practice and CV writing. I wouldn't do that for anyone though, I used my instinct. His story didn't completely add up, and there were clearly MH issues. He had our mobile number in case there was an emergency. We asked him not to come round without checking in advance by text and he respected that. I think in the end we intervened at the right moment as he's now reunited with family.
I think it's drugs. take him food but not money and don't believe everything he says.
I'm sure you weren't planning to, but don't have unprotected sex with him (or anyone actually!)
Thank you for the replies and kind words. Yes I guess I feel I let him down by leaving him there. He was someone's child once but I couldn't risk the safety of my own dc.
I didn't know him all that well. We were only 13 at the most. He didn't have any parents but did have foster care. He had some behaviour issues etc. We weren't a good match but even so, kills me to see someone I know living rough and I'm here in my bed.
I feel I shouldn't have walked away. I have nice things and he has nothing. It's all so unfair and I feel like I've failed so far so I really want to turn this around and help the guy out.
I'll definitely take food tomorrow and some information. We actually raised some money for a homeless charity recently so I do have a contact that could help.
Thanks again for your time replying to me
Thank you. Don't worry I didn't have any plans to sleep with him. I'm in a happy relationship.
I probably shouldn't have called him a boyfriend. We were only kids. It was a note passing in class kind of affair....
You can help in other ways, contact local charities, clean socks/undies.
glad you weren't offended!
you sound lovely, and drug addicts (if it's drugs I know I'm making a big assumption!) can be very manipulative.
you cant fix him, take care of yourself first and foremost xx
Don't beat yourself up. It's a shock when it's someone you know, but it's just a sad set of circumstances. If your circumstances had been equally sad it would have had no bearing on his outcomes in life.
It's no bad thing to have compassion but there is absolutely nothing for you to feel guilty about.
I also thought drugs, with the missing teeth and street homeless, but it's not necessarily the case.
The problem with foster care is that the foster family have no responsibility for him once he's an adult. Many foster children are very much on their own once they leave the system, and then there's no safety net.
Not a criticism of foster care, btw, that's the deal, but it's not the same as being adopted into a family for life.
We're all a broken relationship and a lost job away from homelessness (if MH is badly affected, even with a rich family in the background). I feel that for those without loving families, homelessness must be so much nearer.
You sound like a lovely person. There are charities you can contact and let them know where he is. I think street safe is one here that I've contacted about a young lad outside wilko.
It's sad for both of you but not much more you can do than the above plus food and human contact.
The best thing you can do for do for him is go with him to the agencies that work with homeless people .
You have a good heart to want to help him, but please be careful as it's likely that hes a drug user and he is lying to you. That doesn't mean you shouldn't get involved . Just be careful and get some expert advice.
Thank you everyone I'll keep you informed of my progress tomorrow when I've called the charities x
Update as promised, I went back today with some food. He seemed ok. I told him that I will try and get info from Barnabus and go back when I have some info.
He seemed really grateful. My friend came with me and agreed that something didn't add up with his story but that won't stop me helping of course. Thanks for your wise words ....
Well done for contacting the agencies, hopefully someone will get back to you tonight.
And thanks for updating us.
I think you suspect that his real story will be a bit different and more complicated than the one he has told you. But of course he still could use a friend.
I'm guessing that he's on methoadone, so may have an addiction support worker. He may also have accommodation of some sort.
More information here ( I'm guessing you are in the Manchester area )
Drop in centre at the booth centre
Coffee4craig and centre point north
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