"I’ve battled with pride because I’ve always been a high earning, high rate tax payer. I’m still not used to the idea that – at 61 – I could be in this position."

The image of homelessness that we tend to picture - a scruffy, bearded man using a sodden paper cup to ask for change - only represents a tiny proportion of people facing homelessness. In fact, most of the beggars in Wycombe aren't homeless, and the vast majority of homeless people do not beg.

Over 500 people of different ages, races, genders and religion come to Wycombe Homeless Connection every year, and every single person has a unique experience of homelessness.

If you walked past one of our service-users in the street, you probably wouldn't realise that they were facing homelessness. That's because the people that come to us for help work at Sainsbury's and Cineworld; they shop at Tesco and Primark; and their children go to school with yours.

This is the story of how we stopped a previously high earning professional from becoming homeless after four major strokes forced him out of employment and left him unable to pay his mortgage.

 

"I was a successful branding consultat: I worked with Orange and Peroni, and I knew Jimmy Choo when he was a in a one-room unit. But my high-street job led to four major strokes, which left me partially paralysed and totally unable to speak.
I lost my job within a week of my first brain haemorrhage and the next three left me without use of my legs, my arm and my speech. I left the house four times in five years and sold everything in the house to live.
I struggled to pay my mortgage. Although years of speech therapy gave me my voice back and I eventually learnt to walk again, it's hard to stay positive when you're £120,000 in debt. I was about to win my next pitch but the bank wanted to repossess my house. "We haven't heard from you in months," they said.
"No sh*t," I told them, "I've been mute!"
It came to a crunch. I suddenly realised that – despite my former wealth and my former success – I was going to lose my home. And that's why I went to Wycombe Homeless Connection.
Wycombe Homeless Connection showed me that there’s hope in a world I thought only cared about shareholder value and in a society I thought had become really cold. It's a charity that cares for those on the floor and for those about to hit the floor. The staff and volunteers helped me suspend my eviction order, and I'm still home now."

If you are homeless or at risk of losing your home, please drop into our advice and support centre on 8 Castle Street, HP13 6RF between 10am and 12:30pm, Monday to Friday. We will do all we can to help you.