“He was my only family, my friend. They wouldn’t let me take him with me. I was scared. I had to give him up. Now I’m alone.”
A number of people we had conversations with spoke about the importance of family to them but this wasn’t always a biological connection, they also spoke fondly of dogs who provided them with companionship and love, and friends on the street who they cared for greatly. Those who mentioned their dogs had different circumstances, one person was living with theirs in a hostel, another had to give up their dog to get into accommodation and another spoke of their grief for their beloved dog who had recently been hit by a car and passed away.
“I can’t get my life back on track while I am in temporary accommodation, I had to give up my dog to stay here. I got my dog after I tried to commit suicide and he was an emotional help to me, it was hard to give him up, I don’t know how much longer I can be here for now that my application to be made a priority has been declined.”
“I have my dog right here with me, she’s like a daughter to me.”
“She wasn’t a dog, she was family.”
A number of people talked about their children and other family members and the difficulty of not being able to see or stay in touch with them during COVID due to the expense of phone credit and not having access to the internet as a result of services being closed.
“I’m alone, all my family’s in Italy. I’m on benefit right now £80 a week, imagine spending £36 on the phone to speak to family and the rest is for food.”
The accommodation where people were placed were often not suitable to have children visiting and people hoped for a time they would be able to have a safe home for their children to stay.
“I have a 5 year old daughter, I want to be there for her in her formative years but finding it difficult. I have a good relationship with my ex but I can’t have her around here for days when there are drunks and people taking drugs in the corridor, this is no place for a child.“
“I’m in The Passage now, trying to get a studio flat. I want my 2 daughters to be able to visit. That’s the dream, I take each day as it comes. I’ve got a vivid picture in my head but it feels like it’s going to be slow.”