I was forced to use dating apps like Grindr to find a place to stay. I was meeting up with complete strangers every night. You can find yourself in really scary situations, in which people try to take advantage of you. I tried to protect myself by arranging to meet in a public place first of all, to make sure it wasn't a hoax.
You face many challenges: finding a place to sleep; finding food and money for essentials; keeping up with your education; fighting loneliness. One of the biggest challenges that I don't think people always realise is finding the strength to stay positive and keep a smile on your face, when you feel lonely and isolated, with no one to turn to.
At St Mungo's we work to end homelessness and help people rebuild their lives. Across London and the south of England, we provide outreach support and accommodation where people can find the help they need to begin to build their futures in a positive way. We know that there is life after rough sleeping. We see every day that people can - and do - recover and move on from homelessness.
I am practically seconds away from putting up a tree. However it has actually taken a while for me to get back into the idea of Christmas since my father died and I am totally empathetic to anyone that has lost someone and is facing the daunting prospect of a nostalgic Christmas ahead. My dad used to enjoy this season so much that it is literally impossible not to think about and miss him.