'I dread to think where I would be now' - former homeless dad thanks South Shields charity which got him off the streets

A former drug addict and ex-homeless man has told how a South Shields charity helped him turn his life around.

Thursday, 10th October 2019, 5:00 pm
Glenn outside Lucie's Pantry, Emmaus North East's social supermarket in South Shields

Glenn Miller, 46, has thanked homeless charity, Emmaus North East, which is based in South Shields, ahead of World Homeless Day on Thursday, October 10.

The dad-of-three lost his home and family after the breakdown of his marriage, and found himself living in a hostel and turning to drugs.

“I wasn’t seeing my kids, and not having a home of my own made things worse. I started using hard drugs I had never used before, just to try and get through it all. They were the only comfort I had,” said Glenn, who grew up in Teesside.

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Glenn stocking shelves in Lucie's Pantry, Emmaus North East's social supermarket in South Shields

There followed years of drug taking, depression, multiple periods in prison and a spell on the streets.

Things started to turn around when Glenn was allocated a flat of his own, but issues with universal credit and conflicting appointments with the Job Centre lead to him being evicted and he found himself homeless again.

From there he turned to shoplifting and was eventually sent to prison.

“I would get clean in prison, then come out and go straight into a hostel where I would be surrounded by drugs again. I had made peace with the fact that I would rather sleep on the streets than go back to that,” he continued.

“Thankfully, my prison support worker recommended Emmaus and I can’t explain the difference it has made to my life.”

Emmaus North East supports 13 formerly homeless people by giving them a home, meaningful work experience in a social enterprise, funded training opportunities and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem and confidence to help rebuild their lives.

“If Emmaus hadn’t come along when it did, I dread to think where I would be now. Probably back in prison, or back on drugs,” said Glenn, who makes furniture which is sold in the charity’s Hebburn and Low Fell shops.

“Thanks to Emmaus I am now rebuilding my relationships with my daughters. It’s just a day by day process for now, but we’ll get there. I have a purpose and a family, and I couldn’t wish for anything more.”