One life changed means one more person has broken the cycle of homelessness.

It’s not often you get to say thank you to the people who have, with the help of God, saved your live. That’s not being dramatic; I believe it’s the truth.

I split up with my wife in March 2012, and then came back to Edinburgh because this was where I was born. After the shock of being told the Council couldn’t help me, I managed to find my way to Streetwork where they told me about Bethany’s Care Shelter. I was told to make my way to Waterloo Place and that there was a mini-bus that would take people right to the venue.

That first night I stood at the bus stop feeling anxious, lonely and scared as I didn’t know what to expect. The bus arrived and everybody, who could get on, did. One of the staff members saw my disappointment and said, “Don’t worry; we’ll be coming right back to get the rest of you.” And they did!

When I walked into that Church hall for the first time, it was a bit daunting for me and 41 others sleeping in the one hall. But I received so much more than a bed for the night. I received a warm safe place to sleep, companion and friendship, and staff who talk with and listen to. The staff would help any person who needed it without condemnation, ridicule or judgement. They also tried their hardest to admit every person and to turn no one away.

After a miserable cold wet day, the sight of the Care Shelter lifted my heart many times.

While being homeless over the last 6 years, I have been very grateful for many of Bethany’s front-line services, including Bethany House, the temporary accommodation hostel. At this moment in time, I am very lucky to have stayed at the Bethany Christian Centre, a temporary supported accommodation unit for people with addiction.

This is the place where I turned my life around.

The Centre has 15 individuals brought together by their determination and willingness to change their cycle of addiction, in a community all helping and looking out for each other. I have now been here for less than a year; it’s the longest time I have been sober since I was about 16. It’s amazing to think that I first started this journey with Bethany, and 6 years later, I am finishing it with Bethany! I am proof that they never abandon anyone.

The greatest thing that has stuck out to me over the years is the remarkable people who work for this organisation who have changed the lives of so many people. I believe God puts people where they need to be.

Every person at Bethany today is needed exactly where they are: the Care Van, the Shelter, the hostels, the staff working in the Bethany shops, the assistance of the Care Van volunteers who deliver and pick up furniture and goods and the staff who fundraise – they are all working to save and to help change lives.

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