Robert explains how he first came into contact with HARP: "My mum just wasn’t there for me. I was anxious and self harmed and she couldn't handle it so threw me out. I had my job, but after seven night’s in council bed and breakfast I hadn’t found anywhere else, and I spent a week and a half on the streets. It was scary: I never thought I’d be in that situation".
"At night I felt vulnerable and was frightened someone might harm me. I went to quiet places because I was worried I might bump into someone who knew me. I didn’t want to lose my job so I only told a few people at work who helped me out with bread and food, but I couldn’t get a shower".
"Then someone told me about HARP and I made an appointment. They offered me breakfast and a safe place to stay. That night I felt safe again for the first time in ages. Vicky, my keyworker, was the first person I met and she could not have been more helpful".
As Robert became more settled he moved on from The Bradbury Centre to hostel accommodation with a higher level of independence and gradually moved on to supported accommodation in an Acorn bedsit towards independent living. Apart from the support of key worker Vicky he has gained knowledge of tenancy sustainment and, through counselling, has built his confidence through coping mechanisms.
Robert says: “ A few months down the line I feel more confident and gradually I've started to feel better about myself. I wanted to work and I was determined to keep my job. Now HARP has given me the stability with a roof over my head and a place I can call home.
HARP helped me when I needed it most. There was always someone to talk to when I felt low. Vicky gave me good advice and knew I was interested in cooking so she organised a place for me on the Prince’s Trust cookery course at Southend Adult Community College. Achieving my Level 2 certificate felt great!
Before HARP I didn’t think there was any hope. I thought things would just get worse. Now I’m continuing in my job and I feel safe. I now have a plan and I hope eventually I will move into a council place. I feel more confident and bubbly. I used to love playing football when I was a little boy and I’ve joined a football club in Rochford. My life has a structure and it’s all thanks to HARP.”