The below is a transcript of their authentic conversation, which involved Ali translating some questions for Stefan.
Stefan: “I live on the street all of the time. Without any friends at this moment. Live alone all the time on the street.”
Ali: “Similar really on the street but I have friends. So, I could sofa surf for a couple of nights in a house. The last three years was a struggle for me. Living on the streets or in a tent.”
Stefan: “I feel safe, more safe. I get good support. It allows me to get more sleep.”
Ali: “When I first accessed, I was drinking a lot. Some things I don’t like, like the being back before 10pm, but I do understand why they’re in place because there’s a lot of different people here. It is still COVID, so I hate just staying in the cabin all the time, I prefer to be out.
Generally, I am happy with the support I receive here, and I am grateful for it.”
Stefan: “I am now in a routine, because I have to be back by 10pm. I feel more happy.
Before I was here, I didn’t have nothing like universal credit but now I have all these things. I feel like things are starting to get sorted. Time will show what happens next.”
Ali: “I feel more calm inside. I was living day by day. I had no phone, no money a big debt as you know. But now it’s starting to come together.
I don’t want to say my problem with alcohol as gone, because its not, but now I feel more stronger, more positive compared to a few months back.”
I’m going on the street now like a normal person, shaving, showering, sleeping. Without this, I think I would’ve killed myself.
I feel more safe here because staff working all the time, day and night. So, if I have some problem with my neighbours, someone arguing with me – someone’s here.”
Stefan: “I lived three winters on the street. First time was a tragedy. The next time I knew what I had to do to keep safe on the street. Sometimes, I struggled with mental health. I don’t believe people who say they lived 12 years on the streets, it’s hard.
I sleep in the winter in the streets without a sleeping bag. I would wake up and cry because I was so cold. I’d wake up and sit on the bench and walked around because I couldn’t keep warm.”
Ali: “Every day is a fight on the streets. Someone tried to burn me. If someone walked past, you’d wake up.”
Stefan: “It’s more comfortable here, this is my place. I don’t think much about future honestly, but I’d like to go back to normal job. Maybe after COVID.
When COVID finish, I’d like to go see my brother in Ireland.
No one knows in Poland that I am homeless. Before COVID and I was on the streets, every time I rang home I said everything was fine, nobody know nothing. Maybe one day in the future, I could move to my brother in Ireland.”
Ali: “[I’ve] experienced racism on the streets. I’ve been to a few countries but here people can be very nasty.
My dream of the future is to speak better English, find some job, live with my daughter in Scotland, go on to some holiday. This is my dream.
Maybe in the future meet someone, settle down – not right now, it scares me, but maybe in the future everything change.”
*Ali and Stefan are pseudonyms to protect the identity of the clients
Find out more about Glanrafon Emergency Bed Provision