Published: 16:58, 11 December 2018
| Updated: 17:01, 11 December 2018
While losing the roof over your head might seem almost impossible, the stories of visitors to the Maidstone Day Centre show that the path to losing a home starts with events that could happen to anyone and are out of their control.
Lorraine, became homeless two and a half years ago when the loss of her father sent her spiralling into depression.
The former care worker was so devastated by the loss of the man she says was her hero for saving her from a violent marriage, she was left unable to work and, at her lowest points, contemplating suicide.
"I fell to pieces I couldn’t go to work. I Just had it in my head that I wanted to die, my dad had gone and I couldn’t see my life beyond that," she said.
While claiming benefits to keep her family afloat, the mother and wife lost track of finances in a haze of grief and ended up being evicted and £3,000 in debt.
"I was on sick benefit and to be honest I just didn’t have a grip on reality or what was going on," she said. "Days were blurring into days just staring out the window."
"I just was naive enough to think that the sick money that I was getting for anxiety and depression would cover my rent but it didn’t."
Since losing the family home in 2016 until just a few months ago, the 52-year-old had been sleeping on floors and sofas at friends houses, or staying in a tent with her husband John, while their 18-year-old son with special needs lives with a family member.
"We lived together as a family for ten years and then we got ripped apart so it’s been really hard," she said.
For a short time, she stayed with her mother until she passed away around a year and a half ago
Thanks to a referral from the Maidstone Day Centre, Lorraine has found temporary housing and now volunteers by sorting clothing donations.
With their help, she is now finding stability, chipping away at her debt, and thinking about a future with all her loved ones under one roof again.
Lending a helping hand to people without a home this Christmas could hardly be easier.
Several local supermarkets which collect for Maidstone Homeless Care and its food bank, Food For Thought, all year round are providing their usual collection points while the Kent Messenger offices at 6 and 7 Middle Row, Maidstone will also accept donations.
The day centre is in need of tinned fruits, vegetables and meat, cooking oil, non-alcoholic drinks, squash, coffee, and all non-perishable food.
Collection points can be found in Sainsbury in Romney Place, Maidstone, Sainsbury’s in Mills Road, Larkfield, Morrison’s in Sutton Road, Maidstone, and Waitrose in Allington Park. The campaign is also being supported by eight schools, three churches, three GP surgeries, and The Mall in Pad’s Hill Maidstone.
To find out more about Homeless Care or the Maidstone Day Centre please visit www.homelesscare.org.uk