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.
When I speak to people who have been homeless about their experience of seeking help from their local council, they often describe feelings of utter frustration and despair. Too many people are not being served by the current legal framework which requires councils to offer accommodation to homeless households, but only in limited circumstances.