How would you feel if you had risked your life defending your country only to find yourself alienated by those you were fighting for?
This is what happened to Charlie, one of the men who has been coming to the Care Shelter this winter.
As we got to know him, Charlie opened up and shared his story. Both him and his brother joined the Army and were deployed in Iraq. His brother was killed in combat.
When he returned to the UK Charlie suffered from acute anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress and struggled to re-adjust to civilian life. His Post Traumatic Stress became so distressing that he started medicating with alcohol. He also became homeless.
He told us that on one occasion, a passer-by came up to him and told him he should get his act together and do something meaningful with his life. These are bitter words to hear when you’ve lost everything in the process of defending your country.
The issue of ex-service men becoming homeless in Scotland is not one that gets a lot of media coverage. And yet, a recent survey by Poppy Scotland revealed that compared to their English and Welsh counterparts:
Veterans living in Scotland were 10% more likely to become homeless.
Last year alone almost 1100 veterans made homeless applications in Scotland.
We have good news! In the last few weeks Charlie has been referred to and accepted by Bethany Christian Centre. This week, he is moving in. It’s great news that he now has a safe place to live, can address the issues holding him back and can rebuild his life for the future.