Not everyone is lucky enough to have a good start to life. Steve’s parents divorced when he was 12, exposing him to a torrent of sexual abuse and having lost his trust, he rebelled as a teen in order to cope, turning to drugs. Steve was diagnosed with depression and anxiety; with his past and future seeming bleak he made two suicide attempts at the age of 19.
But he found light in the darkness and started to live a ‘normal’ life. He got sober, enjoyed volunteering in his spare time and he eventually married. Sadly, the marriage fell apart and Steve sought refuge in his neighbour Greg, who Steve became close friends with over 8 years. But his never-ending trust and faith that people could be good made him vulnerable to exploitation.
Greg was heavily involved in drugs and took most of Steve’s money over the years. Steve earned £350 a week but Greg took it all for drugs, leaving no money for food and forcing Steve to “shoplift just to survive.”Steve was subject to various accusations, despite Steve having no involvement in drugs, and frequent violent attacks from Greg. It was when Greg threatened to kill Steve that Steve fled his home for fear of his life.
With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Steve ended up in Canterbury, where he slept on the streets. Cold, scared and hurt once again, Steve was losing hope that things would get better. Then he found Catching Lives. Canterbury Open Centre provided him with somewhere to go and most importantly people that who would help him without wanting anything in return; staff and volunteers who cared. Through his access to he was linked up with mental health services, found support in finding temporary accommodation and was able to spend time with people he could really trust.
With the help and support of the centre, he was soon relocated to local supported accommodation and has since been moved into a shared house, where he is successfully rebuilding his life. “I’m doing computer courses now; I’ve just passed the first one. A year ago I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d now be looking for a flat. If it wasn’t for Catching Lives, I’d still be on the streets.”