Tyne Stories, Chapter 2: Dan’s Story
We met Dan at his lovely new home in Byker where he’s been for just a month now. This was Dan’s first day off in seven days after starting his new job at a large call centre in Newcastle.
Dan was able to move into this new flat thanks to our Homes England funded move-on programme. The aim of the programme is to help those living in emergency or supported accommodation move forward to independent living.
“I’m from a good area in Newcastle and never really thought my life would be like this. I did well at school and got all my GCSE’s then left and got an electrician apprenticeship which was alright, but I don’t think it was really for me.
It all changed really when I was 19 and my big brother had taken his own life. I was the one who found him in the house when I came home and that just changed things for me and my mental health. I had a good family and had my mam, so I did manage and started studying again at Newcastle College for a HND in Civil Engineering.
I really enjoyed going to college, but then my mam got sick with cancer and things just got really difficult. I remember going with her to the doctors and I asked them for help with my mental health and basically just got told to ‘man up’ so I never asked again.
When my mam died I was 23, she has always been my rock and that was just the worst thing that could have happened. I was left living with my stepdad who I didn’t get on with and was just so numb from it all, so I started partying and drinking a lot which led to him kicking me out of the house and ending up on the streets.
This was definitely the worst time of my life, I struggled with relationships and found myself in situations I’m not proud of. I was getting in trouble with the police for the first time ever and ended up in prison for two months. When I think about this now, it does seem so shocking and not like me, but at the time I honestly felt nothing because I was just so numb didn’t even care what happened to me.
Eventually, I did get the help I needed, I got sorted with medication for my mental health and got a bed at Byker Bridge House where I had a support worker helping me. I kept myself to myself then, I’d just go over the road to Wetherspoons and use their wifi to download films on Netflix so I could watch them in my room. It was thinking about my mam and my family that made me get myself sorted, I had a picture of them with me all the time and used to try and think about good times on holiday together.
I’ve now lived with Tyne Housing for around two years and having someone there who I can trust and talk to has really helped. I’m dead happy I’ve been given a chance to move into this new place on my own and out of a shared house. In the first week I was in here I just knew I was ready to get out there and get a job and start moving on with my life. This place being actually affordable means I could do it and not be worried about losing my home or keeping up with costs if something went wrong.
I woke up one morning and just started applying for loads of jobs online, I got three interviews and offered two jobs, but I took this one because I could start straight away and it’s been dead good so far. I’ve been taking on as much overtime as I can so I set myself up right, pay all my bills and start getting stuff sorted in the flat to make it more homely.
Maybe in the future, I might look at going back to college or something, but I do just feel like there’s a real way forward now and I know I can see myself having a normal future – starting on Sunday when my mates are coming round for a Fifa tournament.
Note: Names have been changed to protect the identity of residents.
About Tyne Stories
Tyne supports hundreds of people every year, providing access to housing, healthcare, training and more. Many of the people we work with have experienced homelessness and other complex challenges that are often misunderstood.
Our Tyne stories initiative has been set up to provide a platform for people to tell their own story in a way that’s authentic to them. We want to empower those that often feel powerless and challenge the stereotypes that are attached to homelessness and people living with complex challenges.