Part One -The overview of how i became homeless aged 18

My mental health was at an all-time low, and I was addicted to Synthetic cannabinoids AKA Spice or legal highs. And this ultimately caused me to end up being homeless at the age of 18; this blog aims at outlining how I got on these drugs and what I had to do to turn my life around and get to where I am now. It was not the most significant point in my life, and it does not relate to the person I have become now. The idea is to show how much I’ve changed and vocalise my experiences.

I was already addicted to Spice / Legal Highs before becoming homeless

I was in the local “bong shop” and saw someone buy it from behind the counter (this is before the laws came into effect in the United Kingdom. banning the sales and categorising it as a class B Drug.). I knew about it mimicking the effect of cannabis and thought I would try it. The thing is, this drug was not what I expected and was nothing like marijuana. Over a period of a year, I was taking this drug almost daily because. as explained in my blog post, A Medicated Mess. I relied on substances both illegal and legal throughout most of my life, to block out memories and keep me at ease. But I was not expecting this drug to take over and turn me into a zombie! As it does. (maybe a more in-depth post about this will come in the future.)

How I became homeless

We had all been drinking and smoking Spice; it was Halloween. I was with two friends walking through Dane Park in Margate. One friend had an opened bottle of beer where it was a no drink zone. a task force van zoomed up to us with its sirens on when we briefly stopped to rest. I was already half cut, and we were no less than 15 minutes away from the party when we all got searched. I had two unopened bottles of whisky + around £100 of legal highs on me. Which got confiscated the police office. jokingly or not told me it was a contribution to their Christmas party, and I got up and went to punch the officer… (ridiculous idea I know…) I then got pushed back to the bench. They got hold of my parents and told them because of my behaviour and the quantity of alcohol and drugs I had on me. They would have to file a report to social services if they did not remove me from my mum’s property. My mum made a hard decision that night. One I can imagine was hard but also one of the best moves she made… I became homeless, and this was to protect my sisters as well as to give me a much-needed reality check which I very much thank my mum for doing 🙂 if that never happened, I would wonder what would have become of my life.

Being Homeless at aged 18

I knew one thing for sure, I won’t be your typical beggar, and I was lucky to claim various benefits… they saved me if I’m honest. But although I was addicted to drugs, I never resorted to crime or begging. I brought myself a tent and some essential camping equipment and headed to one of the local woodlands. And I pitched up inside the tent. The first month was the worst. After the incident I did not talk to anyone, I spent it in shock and continuously high… barely surviving… thankfully I got myself out of the cycle before it got too bad. I got back in contact with some of my friends. (mostly other addicts who don’t socialise with but two of those with are also clean from legal highs and are now getting on with life and I stay in contact with), and we had some good times. We were all in similar places.

This Photo was taken at Tivoli Woods In Margate, Kent. near the location that Li Jean-Luc Harris Was Camping when homeless

On my 19th birthday, I was camping in the woods, and it was pretty cold too. Not much happened that day. Two of these friends awakened at midnight with me with a birthday cake. They ventured out that night to get me; it was pouring down with rain too, so it was a pleasant surprise. But I remember having drinking whisky plus smoking legal highs too. cover up most the pain I was going through… I wanted to be with family too, but at the state I was in I was still not fit to return.

A Picture of Li Jean-Luc Harris peering out of his tent to the warmth of a fire. Homeless Heater.

I remember one winter night after getting a food parcel off one of the local homeless organisations. We attempted to cook lamb on a campfire using tent pegs to make a day grill; it took us hours to cook this; I remember I was up most that night. But when I finally got to eat, it was at 3a.m. and it was one of the more positive moments of being homeless.
Christmas 2016 was an interesting one, I was with a few friends who hosted for me. It was an interesting day once again drug-fuelled and alcohol with a gammon joint roast.

A Picture of a campstove and kettle outside Li Jean-Luc Harris’s tent while he was homeless

The 6th month of being homeless. And having experienced both ends of the scale of being in the woods and sofa surfing, I finally got to the point of realisation where I had to change my behaviours and start my life again. Once again, I needed to make the next move and escape the cycle.


Part Two: I Want Out, My journey To Ending my Homelessness

Towards the end, I was in desperate need of getting myself into my property. Not only was my head in a place where I had contemplated taking my own life. I knew also that my fantasy of camping was getting further from reality. I used “I’m Just Camping, or it’s just like camping “to hide and forget the fact I actually didn’t have a safe place to go home.

It was important to visit our local council on average of 3 times a week. literally begging for help. What made it worse was the fact I was a care leaver, and they had a responsibility of helping house me. But every time I was brushed off and moved along.

December Was Horrid Month. Constant rain and cold weather made it hard to make fires, meaning more time stuck in the tent abusing drugs as well. Thankfully, I could keep somewhat warm and somehow did not get sick…

I would visit my mum on occasions, and she offered me back to stay. Every time I refused. I hated being homeless, but did not want to endanger my sisters again.

Somehow I made it through Christmas a friend at the time put me up for the night, in fact, he helped me out a lot… but sadly he never got out of the rut, and as far as I’m aware to this day he is now homeless and still addicted to Spice.

 

Time to change, I need out.

an image of Li Jean-Luc Harris While he was homeless

an image of Li Jean-Luc Harris While he was homeless

i was so addicted to the drugs that I learned alternative ways to get hold of it for cheaper. I even learned how to wholesale the drug and even produce it at home. But I knew I needed to change if I was ever going to get myself a home. And move on with my life.

After a while of being away from the local council office, I decided it was time. I knew I had to pull out the big guns.

 

It was a typical visit… I would get a ticket and wait for an advisor smelling like smoke and sweat from my campfire, with the full-on beard and dirt on my face. This time around, I had purposely waited to make sure I was in a horrid state of affairs and make sure they would take me as being serious about my situation… I didn’t want to get brushed off again…

My ticket finally got called out, and I approached the desk to speak with the advisor. They looked at me and knew what it was about; I had never talked to this advisor before though, and I think it was mainly a matter of luck.

Getting Emergency Housing

At first, things seemed to go like usual, I’m homeless, been sleeping here for x Days I need housing I can’t stay with my parents for various reasons. The women looked at me. And told me she regrets to inform me she can not help me… and then this idea struck…

So this is coming up the 4 months on the street camping out of the way from populated areas to not be seen as a beggar, low life or piece of scum. I’ve asked you multiple times for your help and now we are facing Sub-Zero Temperatures. I’m a care leaver therefor you have a duty to assist me and my Personal Assistant. (Kinda like a social worker for over 18’s) has provided you with these details which you claim to have lost. So now let me tell you my plan of action unless you correct this situation.” At this point got my camping gear out as a physical demonstration that I will proceed. “if you’re unable to help me today, then I’m going to pitch my tent up outside of your entrance and I will camp there until either I drop dead in this weather or you home me. and don’t think I won’t talk to the media because one thing is for sure: I want my story heard “

The poor lady’s face dropped; she had nothing to say for a good minute we just sat there before she told me to stay where I was and wait for her to return. I honestly thought she had done a runner for a while, as it had taken over an hour before she got back to me. But when she returned, things made more sense. They offered me a small room in a hotel being used as emergency housing for the council.

Continue To Part 3:

Thanks for your support!

My last post got over 35 Shares, over 1,000 Page views and 65 reactions, so I spent a lot of time to push this post out to keep the story fresh in your minds.

I know I said this would complete the story. But once again after typing my words the conclusion is that I wrote too much. xD could be both good… the 3rd story will conclude the story completely and 100% because it is how it ended and also how I got of Spice, but the whole Synthetic cannabinoids will be another in-depth story to be released. I will though give you mini stories on events that got stuck in my head. Like being homeless in Dane park, Tivoli woods. I was sleeping in freezing and raining weather with just a tarp to wrap myself in. Or when we camped under a bridge, and they forced us to weigh our tents down or fly away. Please check out the last post in the homeless category by clicking here or to view all the stories in My Life Stories please click here please leave comments and engage to show your love and motivate me to post more stories into this series.

Part Three: Getting Off Drugs and The Future

In part one, I explained how I become homeless after a drug addiction to legal highs. And how it had started to effect my behaviours and how the police got involved telling my mum that my actions were at a stage where I had become a risk to my sisters and to protect them my mum had to leave me to fend for myself hoping it would give me that wake-up call needed. In part two, I explained being homeless and how although it was tough and stressful. I managed to get myself into Emergency Housing. Now its time to expand on the story and explain how I got clean of drugs and how I turned my life around. Or did I?

 

Moving to emergency housing

I got placed at Glenwood Hotel, (Cliftonville, Kent) this place was tiny I walked in, and it was my bed a sink wardrobe toilet and shower everything else was communal. And the internet connection was crap, but I was so happy to be off the streets, and I was now able to clean myself up.

Glenwood hotel was charging KCC £176/week which was crazy for what they provided. It didn’t even include a meal. But they were taking advantage of the demand for housing. And this was only temporary until they were able to accept a duty of care and find me a council flat.

 

 

Getting myself off drugs.

It was the hardest thing i had to do, if you have no read about my blog post A Medicated Mess  i would read it as i still blame the pharmasutical industry for making me prone to “Fixing habits/issues with drugs” Instead of actually tackling the route course.   i was still heavily addicted to Legal Highs (Spice, K2, Canaboniod, Ect) and at this point now i was housed and somewhat settled i knew it was time to make the first step and Admit i had an issue.

if im totally honest i was not kidding no one. i knew i had an issue a long time before this but whist i was in an unfavourable position the only thing to allow me to sleep or take myself away from my current situation was the drug… but at the same time looking back on the year and a half expireance i knew that sadly i hardly could recall any events…  it took a lot of effort but that night was the last night i took that drug and i’ve not revisited it since. this was something i never wanted to revisit and was just full of regret.

The Future, working life and living in a flat with a stable relationship

this part will be split into 4 sub headings. i want to focused a lot on this part of the story as it outlines life now and everything i’ve worked towards

Living in a flat

after 8 months in Glenwood hotel and whist doing an employablity course with the job centre,r i was called up by east kent housing offering my a flat in invicta house, Millmead. the area was not favourable for sure but at this point, i was so exited to move in i jumped at the opertunity i’ve now been there for two years and am on a full time tenancy i’ve been balancing off debts a lot but thats part of life.

Working Life

as soon as i was in Glenwood hotel, I was thankful that i was offered a part time “Work Expireance Job” With Alpha Core International thanks to Phillip Rees and Peter Cook. they where  amazing and helped me regain my confidence and spark for working, as well as entrepenurial projects. Alpha Core International Holds a special part in my heart and will get its own blog post in the near future

after that i went on a short break working on self employed projects before working for OCS, Now Known As RAS For a second time to help combat my debt

A Photo of Li Jean-Luc Harris Working For OCS in 2017 at a superdrug Store

After OCS i moved straight into a job up in gravesend for Independence-Development Ltd. which i currently still am working for to this date.

Stable Relationship

the best part of this is after years of searching me and Josh Evans Met! its now been a year and a half we have been dating and are very happy together :)

The Future

in the future me and josh are planing to get a mortgage and move in together which will be fantastic. i’m always looking for new job opportunities too and have had a few interviews in the past year that currently have not lead me anywhere. the new life stories series is doing amazing and i will continue working on this for sure.
Update in September of 2019 we got the mortgage check out From Homeless To Homeowner; My Journey (overview)


Thank you for reading Being Homeless Aged 18 3 of 3. this has been such an amazing expireance and everyone who has interacted and contacted me personally i am over the moon about you lot are really inspiring me to go far with sharing my past issues and how i am dealing with them now. with the hope that i can help others in similar situations.

i would really love it if you can share this post or the “Homeless Catagory ” so we can reach a bigger audiance and give hope to homeless people all over the world.