Story of Kamilla

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Kamilla was in Cyprus, with her husband, who is Nigerian. They decided to come to London for a better life for both of them and their first child - who was on the way.
So they decided that she would go ahead of her husband and stay with his family, until he had saved enough to join her. She arrived full of hope and was shocked to find that her husbands family simply turned her away. She knew no-one and had nowhere to go and her life on the streets began. Two kind people she had met at a day centre, Jacek and Slawek knew at once that they had to ask Rev. Alex to help her. Jacek and Slawek were residents at Highway House and they asked Rev. Alex if he could help. Rev. Alex had agreed to take her on, believing fully that it would only be for a few days. He was certain that she would be eligible for emergency accommodation. At that time at Highway House she was the only pregnant woman amongst only a handful of other women at the shelter. Rev. Alex felt concerned about both her welfare and her safety and wondered if the men would treat her with the gentleness and respect she needed. She was welcomed into Highway House, but Alex knew he would have to act fast to get her a more suitable home. So, a few days later they both set out with the certain goal of securing her a suitable place to live. As they walked out of the third housing office, having been rejected, they walked in silence. Rev. Alex was shocked to learn that yet again there was nothing that anyone could do. Quite simply she was not eligible until she had the child. The residents of Highway House soon adjusted to the fact that there was a pregnant woman in the house. Rev. Alex watched with both concern and intrigue as to how the men interacted with Kamilla. He was pleasantly surprised to see the deep respect and care they gave her. She began to attend Church and people brought her clothes and other items that she needed. As the birth neared, some friends offered her a room and she happily moved out of the shelter. It seemed all was looking up for her. Sadly, not long after the birth, she and her friends were evicted by the landlord and she had to return to the shelter once more. The job was back on to find her accommodation, and Rev. Alex believed that she would now be eligible for a home. However the authorities were still unable to help and Kamilla couldn’t stay in a homeless shelter with a child to look after. Rather than waiting on her husband, she decided her best option would be to return to Poland and to her family. . Rev. Alex contacted Thamesreach, an organisation that assists in repatriation. Over the phone, they kindly agreed to purchase a ticket for her return, but the agreement was dependent on a visit with Kamilla at Highway House for an assessment. On the day of the visit, Rev. Alex sat with Kamilla and her baby and answered a string of questions. All seemed to be going well as Alex explained how Kamilla had no family to go to, no help available and that Highway House had been her last resort. Much to their shock, the woman announced that what Rev. Alex had done was illegal. She listed a string of breaches in regulations regulations and that because of this she simply couldn't help. Rev. Alex was almost indignant. He went on to list all of the organisations that he had approached to get Kamilla the help that she needed and their response. He even pulled a file out of letters which rejection after rejection of help for Kamilla. The woman quickly backed down and said her goodbyes leaving behind the paperwork to be completed in order to get Kamilla back home. Rev. Alex wasted no time in completing it and posting it back. Within a few days Kamilla was saying farewell to Rev. Alex and her friends at Highway House. She had received the help she needed at long last, she had a ticket and was on her way back to Poland with her baby. Later that year, Kamilla and her husband called Rev. Alex from Poland to wish him and his family a happy Christmas - they had been reunited. Two years later, Kamilla made a  an unannounced visit during a Sunday service. The baby she carried during her stay at Highway House was now three years old. Kamilla, her husband and their children now live in London, in their own home.
Related Links Take a look at Life inside Highway House - Image Gallery

Story of Mone Lovedeep Singh

"I came to London 14th October 2010 from India at the age of 18 to study and further my education."
After a few months living in a shared house, the money I had brought with me had run out. Not knowing anyone, my only choice was to leave and the only place I could go was the streets. It meant that I stopped going to college and soon all of my great plans of a new life were effected. I spent more than 3 months on the streets. It was winter and I slept on buses tying to keep warm. One day I met some other homeless people and they took me to a Day centre for homeless people. It was nice to be with other people again and I was soon asked to join them to play some Football. While playing, I met a resident of Highway House. He told me about what they did and  brought me to meet them. After explaining my situation, I was offered a place. Since having a home and getting some support I have returned to college and I have developed a fun and supportive social circle of friends. I have hope and some beautiful plans.
Mone got a job and moved out of the shelter into his own place in 2013. He is one of the youngest residents we have supported.  

Related Links Take a look at Life inside Highway House - Image Gallery

Story of Rafael Kwiatkowski

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Two people turned up to Highway of Holiness seeking refuge from the streets. One of them was Rafael Kwiatkowski who became instrumental in setting up Highway House.
Originally from Poland, Rafael arrived in the UK in 2005 looking for work. He left behind two parents, seven sisters and a teenage son. He became a resident of the shelter in 2009.
He and a friend (now deceased) were sitting outside a B&Q in Tottenham Hale, North London drinking. They were homeless.  A woman (Rev. Alex's wife) came by, chatted with inviting them to visit and handed them a leaflet with an address stamped on it. With the leaflet crumpled in their trouser pocket, they made their way to Highway of Holiness. It was closed, but they returned the following Monday and met with Rev. Alex. They told him that they were desperate for somewhere warm to sleep and wash. Rafael and his friend were offered a meal, three times a week and they were grateful to have warm food in their bellies. A few weeks later they brought 20 of their friends along for dinner and the doors of Highway House were opened. Rafael’s drinking problem had affected his liver. Although several appointments were made for him to see  a GP he was often too drunk to remember. When he finally managed to get the care he so desperately needed, the Dr said his health was in a critical condition and his liver would have been permanently damaged, if he had continued without help. His medication had to be taken diligently, with food and because of the severity of his health and the fact he was homeless, Doctors were reluctant to prescribe him with the necessary medication. Rev Alex stepped up and agreed with the Doctors to manage his care and provided the much needed address for hospital records. Rev. Alex set up a regime of breakfast and medication, yet often Rafael was too hungover or drunk to eat let alone take medication. Gradually, his liver and general health improved and he quit drinking completely. He was soon well enough to make a much desired visit to Poland to see family and friends. He was there to celebrate his sister's wedding, but decided he didn't want to be tempted to drink again, so missed the reception. Rafael believes he’s completely unrecognisable from the broken man that first entered the shelter almost all those ago. Rev. Alex often reminds him that people at Highway House often had to carry him upstairs when he returned drunk at night. He now rents a room in a bed-sit and while he is job-hunting he’s also volunteering in a project to rehabilitate other alcoholics. Rafael often finds it funny that he's now working alongside the same people who used to try and help his and his own addiction to alcohol.
Raphael didn't know it, but when he brought those 20 friends to Highway House, he helped start a homeless shelter that has gone on to help over 600 people. 

Related Links Take a look at Life inside Highway House - Image Gallery

Story of Samuel Adjei

"I was a Police Officer in Ghana and came to the UK in 2003 to work as a road cleaner. A hit and run while I was on my bicycle left me on crutches and I could no longer work. Suddenly my life when downhill'
It was so distressing and even now, thinking about how I slept on buses for all those years is still upsetting. I was cycling and got hit by a bus. The driver didn't know it, but he drove over my leg and just kept going. I ended up on crutches and I couldn't work cleaning streets anymore. So, I couldn't pay the rent and just ended up on the streets.
I spent 4 years sleeping on buses, moving with a badly injured leg, on crutches. It was very distressing I just wanted to drink all day and at times to end it all.  One day when I was sitting resting my leg a young man walked by and stopped to ask me if I was needed help. I told him everything that had happened to me over the past four years and he invited me to Highway House where I was welcomed. I got help to see a Dr and Highway House allowed me to use their address so I could see a consultant and get the appointment letter for my operation and so I could show I had somewhere to recuperate afterwards. Unusually, hospital staff visited Highway House for a thorough inspection of the building. The nurses concluded that adaptations were necessary, included providing a special bed for me. They made two visits to make sure that the standard of care would be right before they even approved the operation going ahead. Since the operation and the opportunity to fully recover, I have been able to play some football. I'm going to capitalise on my police experience and join the security services here once my legs are completely healed.  I am so thankful to Highway House and Rev. Alex for the help you have given me to no longer be penniless or homeless and to have taken me out of living in such unhygienic conditions and away from those suicidal feelings.