Homeless man from Coventry says the city he grew up in suddenly ‘felt so different’

A man who ended up sleeping rough on the streets of Coventry has spoken of his ‘shock’ at becoming homeless. Matt Postlethwaite eventually sought help from a charity and now spends his time helping other homeless people.

As part of National Volunteer Week (June 3 to 9), a homelessness charity in Coventry is calling for more local support. Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire provides accommodation, support and work opportunities for up to 17 people experiencing homelessness.

Matt received support from Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire. Now he has returned as a volunteer. Speaking about his experience of homelessness, Matt said: “Becoming homeless was a huge shock. The first night was terrifying. It was the town I grew up in, so I knew it like the back of my hand, but it felt very different when I tried to find a safe place to sleep. I was carrying my entire life in my bag, which was taking its toll. I often didn’t talk to anyone for hours. I didn’t like begging, but I had to do it. People walked around me avoiding eye contact; they wouldn’t see me as a human being.”

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After months of rough sleeping, Matt sought help from a rehabilitation charity and was subsequently supported by Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire until he felt ready to live independently again. He added: “After I moved I started volunteering at Emmaus one day a week, helping out in the charity shop serving customers. For me, volunteering is a way to give something back.

“I would recommend it because no day is the same and it is a nice group of people. It looks good on your CV and you know that every cent you earn in the store goes to a good cause.”

Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire relies heavily on volunteers like Matt to run the charity shop and provide essential services to those in need. Volunteers contribute their time and skills to various aspects of the charity’s activities, from sorting donations to helping customers in the store. The charity welcomes people from all walks of life to join their friendly team of volunteers.

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