When Peter lost his job during the financial crisis of 2009, he continued to find sporadic work and used savings to pay rent at increasingly more affordable flats for another four years. He has an MBA and worked in the sales departments of major financial companies like Lehman Brothers, yet he didn’t realise he was entitled to benefits and was slow to accept the reality of his situation.

Wearing a beige tweedy blazer, sharp glasses and clean dress shoes, he looks the part of the smart professional. And with his warm, gentle manner, it’s hard to imagine him sleeping rough on the street. But that was the reality Peter faced when his savings dwindled to £700 in September of 2013.

With no family in England to fall back on, he put his furniture and clothes into storage and began riding the night buses of London. “I was going from one end of the route to the other, sleeping when I could. As a result, I developed thrombosis from sitting in the same position every night for two months,” Peter says.

He heard about our night shelters from the charity Faith in Action. “It was sleep I was after, not food. I just needed to sleep,” he recalls.  

Peter arrived to the shelters the night the second circuit opened on 6 January 2014. Peter says:

The rest, as they say, is history. That’s how I’m here today. I would probably be dead otherwise, succumbed to thrombosis.  

“I stayed at the shelter, night after night, until the caseworkers were able to find me accommodation,” he adds.  

With the help of the casework service, Peter was able to access a room in a house share. Disenchanted with the world of selling financial products, he has now completed accountancy courses and is on his way to retraining as an accountant.