Without No.5 “you would have to build more prisons”, says one service user.

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Inclusion Healthcare - Ryan

A homeless man has described feeling like he’s “hit the jackpot” when the doors to No.5 open at 8am each morning.

Ryan, a 33-year-old who has been homeless since 2021, says the centre not only provides him with an address for correspondence, but support for his mental health, friendships, food and somewhere to wash.

“It’s like a house where you can visit. It’s a warm, peaceful place. There’s nowhere open at night, so when the doors open at 8am, it’s like hitting the jackpot. You have somewhere to go.

“No.5 has helped me a lot. Everyone has been through similar things so they can read the situation – you don’t have to explain yourself.

“Without places like these, you would have to build more prisons. If people couldn’t come here, they would have to steal to get what they need. I would need to go to a gym to have a wash.”

Ryan says he often looks back on his life to see where his problems started and he thinks one reason could be that he was involved in a car accident at the age of 12. It was then, he said, that his behaviour started to change and his life began to head in a different direction.

He started drinking, the beginning of a pattern which has resulted in a number of alcohol-related convictions over the years. He would drink bottles of whisky at a time, something he knew could kill him one day.

He said: “I wrote in my diary: ‘If you have one more drink, Ryan, it will be your last one’. I drink energy drinks now!” 

Ryan worked in construction from the age of 16 to 21 and he said: “I look back now and think how I was building houses for other people at that age, and now I’m 33 I don’t have a home for myself.”  

Ryan said he has travelled the country to try to keep his demons at bay. He has also read widely, devouring books on subjects ranging from war and history to astronomy.

He said: “My ambition is to get my own place and find somewhere to work, and to study.”

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