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When staying with friends fell through, Dami* was staying in restaurants to avoid rough sleeping. When he came to The Upper Room, the Glass Door casework service supported him with his documentation and getting his life back on track. 

*Dami's name has been changed and a representative photo used to protect his identity. 

I was living in France for 20 years. When I came back to the UK, it was meant to be just for about a month. I stayed at a friend’s place, which was between tenants, and when he got a new tenant somehow I ended up staying in St. Helens, which I'd never even heard of before, but it was the same situation of being able to stay in this place until it got sold. I thought, well, I won't be there for very long; I'll be able to head back to France soon. 

The house ended up getting sold, so I came back to London and crashed with some friends; but there's always a time limit on people's hospitality. 

I started staying in hostels and eventually I just run out of money. I was spending my days at Westfield shopping mall.

There was a chap who worked at the hostel I was staying in and I eventually spoke to him and said I didn’t know what to do. He said that when he came to London and didn't have anywhere to go, he would find a 24 hour McDonald's and sit there all night. So I did this. I thought this was only going to be for a couple of nights or something but I ended up doing it for about a week which is very trying. It really is. McDonalds don't want anybody lying down so you have to sit up. 

The biggest challenge was housing. There's plenty of food around, that isn't a problem - I didn't even know there's this great network of soup kitchens, which are better than the old image I had of them. I actually volunteer at one now. 

No, housing was the real challenge. Without housing, I didn't have anywhere to sleep or shower. I went to so many places trying to find somewhere with showers. I had to do a lot of walking. I don't mind walking, but it took me out. And I certainly wasn't going to lie down on the floor somewhere, so it was hard finding somewhere to lay my head down. So, yeah, that I think was the hardest thing.

I didn't really admit to myself that I was homeless, I think because one has an image of homeless, which is done not justly. 

But I was homeless, because at the end of the day, I didn't have anywhere to go. I was completely lost.

Then I somehow ended up at The Upper Room and was introduced to Michaela, a caseworker at Glass Door. I’d never heard of Glass Door before.

I didn't actually know that there were all these support systems. I've always been very much a 'fend for yourself' type of person.

Michaela got me back into the system in terms of sorting out Universal Credit and everything else I needed. I still had my National Insurance number from 20 years ago, but there was no other record of me because I had been out of the country for so long.

I certainly wouldn't have been able to navigate the system, so she did all that for me. She sorted out my housing as well, which was a real godsend. The most important thing was getting back to the system with Universal Credit, because then I could then sort out everything else like registering with a doctor and finding housing.

It all came together really quickly, I think it all happened really within the week, and I certainly wouldn't have been able to do it on my own.

I think she really did string everything together for me. God knows where I'd be. 

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