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The Hybrids

The people who helped me, at Crisis, St Mungo's and Connection Support - they are half human being and half angels. I call them hybrids! You feel when people think ‘I just do my job and that's it. It's five o'clock, I go home.’ No. They’re doing something extra, you feel the heart, you feel the soul. Because anytime, if it's morning, evening, night-time, if I have any problems, I can ring and they jump.

Crisis and St. Mungo’s helped me when it started, the pandemic. Where I worked closed. I don't have enough money for rent and the landlord gives me two weeks. It was like the Wild West, I had nobody. My only option was stay on the street. My bank account was closed, and after a few weeks my ID was expired – my passport, no money means no chance to get a new one. I had nowhere to go, all doors were closed, everywhere.

And one day, a hybrid from St. Mungo’s collects me from the street and they put me in a hotel. The hybrid people, they helped me. I think they are 75% angel and 25% human being, because they made me a bank account, they give me a room in a hotel, they helped me with clothes, with food.

St. Mungo’s sent me to the No Recourse to Public Funds Project at Connection Support. I was given a room in a light and clean flat in Thame which was my home for over a year. I was supported with warm accommodation, £50 per week, a bus pass, and the support workers from the project have been great, helping me sort my problems one by one. They even gave me Christmas presents! Connection Support went with me to the embassy in London, so now I have a passport. They went with me to hospital. Now that I have a passport and right to work, Connection have moved me to a different supported house, in Oxford, to make it easier for me to find a job.

They changed my life, because when I was in the streets, I thought very seriously to commit suicide. I go in the forest and that's it, finished with my life. But then came the hybrids, and they changed my life completely, they give me hope, they give me power to move, to make one step, baby steps, slowly, slowly, slowly, but I think now it's going to be like Neil Armstrong said, ‘One small step for a man, a big step for humanity.’ And now, I hope next week, I start working again. It's gonna be completely different.

In my country, in Romania, I live in a village, I have a horse. I had a house on a hill. Sometimes when the cart was overweight, to let him to breathe a little bit, we stop. And after, I say, ‘Come on, let's go together.’ And I take the chain. When he saw me, we work together, it was more powerful. And that has happened with me. When I saw somebody trying to help me, they give me like a push, and after, you know, I feel ashamed to disappoint these people. I know they’re doing their job, but they do it with heart, they do it with soul. Even if you are a joker like me, they do a good job. When they say ‘What do you need?’, I say ‘I need a jacuzzi!’ Okay, no chance for jacuzzi, but they do everything they can to help you.

You know, to be honest, when I lost my job, I was a little bit depressed. I don't have trust in anyone, I was just living on the streets, like that, shoplifting. When you have money, everybody is your friend, when you have no money, ‘Bye-bye.’ Nobody chooses to be homeless. But people didn’t care I was homeless. They didn't care that I sleep in the street, or maybe I eat from bins. So when I met such friendly people and, you know, they aren’t interested in your money, or if you have nothing, I was surprised. Slowly, slowly my mind started to change, I jump a little bit the depression. They treat me like a human being, and slowly I start to feel me again, like a human being. Because when I was on the street, the way I was talking to myself, ‘I'm rubbish, I'm good for nothing, what's happened with my life?’ It’s no joke when everything is closed to you everywhere.

That’s why I say the hybrids gave me again hope. They push me, actually, because the first time they saw me I was extremely introverted, you know, I don't want to see or speak to no one. Just stay in a room, watch TV. And slowly, slowly, once again, these people are trying to do something with you. I was like a wild animal, you know, like a wild dog. And slowly you make him stay. I saw that these people were working hard to help, not just to give you a room, no, they make contact. They found me a GP, and they give me treatment, everything, and they ring me to ask me, ‘You take your medicine today?’ And after I started thinking, ‘Look, these people will really try to help you. Don't be an idiot.’ Because I was very sceptical before, I didn't think something like that can happen. They give you rooms and that's it. And they're gonna treat me like rubbish. I saw no, they don't treat me like rubbish.

Before, I had some problems with alcohol, when I had no job or nothing. And they asked me if I have a problem with the alcohol. I said, ‘I'm not alcoholic, but I like to drink.’ They asked how much and I say, ‘How much I can take!’ So they sent me to a centre in Cowley Road. And they give me gum to stop smoking, because I'm a smoker. I try, but it’s too late. I am 46 now and I started when I was 15. My father, he was a heavy smoker – he stopped smoking, and after two months he passed away. Only 43, young. That's why I’m scared to stop smoking!

When you feel somebody is helping you, you're able to do more. When you see something like that, that means you don't feel alone. I don’t support Liverpool, who sing 'You'll never walk alone', I support Chelsea! But you don't feel alone. Any time, you can ring for any problem, and they help you, they jump, they jump like kangaroos! These hybrids are different, they feel like a family. Really. They’re looking after me like a family. When it was my birthday, they gave me a card. I was nearly crying. After, in my room, I start to watch TV, but then I open again the card! I read again! I read it again and again. Even now I have it in my room. That meant more than if they gave me £1,000. Really. If they gave me £1,000, I wouldn’t be so impressed and so happy like when they give me that card. It was something, it's something from here, the heart.

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