Coming out can be a difficult time for many LGBT people, but after revealing his sexuality to his family Jeremiah’s relationship with his father started to break down.
The arguments started just before he was due to go back to university for his second year, when Jeremiah had a new partner he wanted his parents to meet. His father became abusive in the house – verbally and sometimes physically.
“It all came to a head one night,” he recalls. “He grabbed all my clothes, put them in a bin liner and chucked them out the door into the rain.”
“My phone got smashed – I didn’t know what to do. I stood still out there for about an hour. My sister came out and threw me her old phone, so I quickly called someone to come and pick me up.”
Jeremiah had no choice but to sofa surf with friends. They helped him for as long as they could, but it was tough not knowing where he was going to sleep or when he was going to eat.
“It’s not easy at all. It’s daunting, it’s depressing; it kind of chips at you. It being over Christmas… that was the killer.”
At the bottom of the list
While staying at friends, Jeremiah repeatedly approached his local authority for help with housing.
“I actually went there for a whole week straight trying to get them to help me,” he recalls.
“Every time I went there the room was packed – there were lots of people waiting already before me. When I spoke to somebody they told me I’m not a priority, that I didn’t have any kids or meet any of these other priority needs for them to house me. I was bottom of this list.”
“I was vulnerable. I didn’t make myself homeless – I was pushed out of my home because of who I was. Given a chance I would’ve explained but I didn’t get the opportunity, because you’re right there at the counter and there’s someone waiting next to you.”
Somewhere of his own
Taking the initiative, Jeremiah went online and searched for housing associations and LGBT organisations. He heard back from an organisation called Gallop and had an interview a week later. He was then referred to the Albert Kennedy Trust who said he qualified for emergency housing.
Two weeks later, he found a room at Centrepoint.
“I was so happy. I walked in to my room and I was like, ‘Wow… This is really nice.’ It’s really good that there are services like Centrepoint out there helping people because my own borough couldn’t help me.” says Jeremiah.
“If I’d never came to Centrepoint, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I was lost and confused.”
Jeremiah is now hoping to go back to university and complete his degree in Information Systems. He hasn’t spoken to his dad, but his mum and his sisters have come to visit him at Centrepoint.
“The staff have been amazing. They helped me in the right direction and got me back on track, because I lost myself for a moment there.”