Born in Wycombe and raised in Amersham, Ian was 13 when his parents split and he left school. Although he lived and worked in various places and was involved in drugs from a young age, he managed to build an independent life for himself. However, one December, after a relationship breakdown, Ian found himself homeless in Watford. He used the shelter and day centre there – but found there was a lot of drug use. Eventually Ian got a place in the YMCA. However, when he found work, his rent almost tripled, and he fell into arrears and was evicted.

The local CAB advised him (wrongly) that he might get official help in Wycombe, his birthplace, so Ian came to Wycombe Homeless Connection; this was the following December. WHC arranged for Ian to spend Christmas week at Crisis, and suggested he consider joining an Emmaus community. Ian was keen to make a new start, so he joined one of their communities that carried out furniture recycling, working in their warehouse and on the vans. Ian enjoyed having his own room and being able to get a shower. On the downside, since the community was a social enterprise, evening conversations were usually about work! Ian hoped to find a job and move on. Said Ian: “A lot of my problems were due to drugs. Drugs don’t get you far in the long run.”