Search

A 26-year-old, who left his drug-fuelled life behind, is guiding light for Ilford’s homeless

PUBLISHED: 15:39 21 December 2012

When most 11-year-olds were starting secondary school, Jason was living a drug-fuelled life as part of a gang of armed robbers – but his remarkable turnaround is providing a light of inspiration to some of the borough’s most destitute.

As our Christmas appeal for the needy reaches its final week, one man has told us the support of a Redbridge shelter helped him turn his life around and take him away from violent crime.

After being put in prison nine times, Jason now gives up his time to help others staying at the Salvation Army night shelter, Clements Road, Ilford.

“I know exactly how they feel and I want to show them there’s a different way in life. Society doesn’t want them any more and I want to help,” he said.

In a revealing interview, Jason told how he came from a broken home and at the age of 11 became involved with gangs and drugs in an attempt to find some stability.

He said that many people who end up on the streets turn to crime as a way of surviving.

“When you’re on the streets you will become a criminal, you will shoplift food,” Jason said. “Some people become heroin addicts just to block everything out, or turn to alcohol to keep out the cold.”

He said that those on the streets are often treated with disgust which is isolating and dehumanising for anyone finding themselves without somewhere to sleep.

His story lays bare the stark reality of life on the streets for homeless people as shelter workers try to keep those without homes alive and safe.

John Clifton, 26, a corps officer at the Salvation Army, said the number of people turning up to the shelter is more than last year and they are struggling to cope with demand.

He added: “Times are harder. The first response is to keep people alive during the cold weather – they are part of our community.”

Latest Ilford News Stories

A former Liberal Democrat leader shared stories with Redbridge sixth form students on Tuesday.

Redbridge Council is appealing to the prime minister to trial providing free sanitary products to vulnerable women across the country.

17:00

This week we spoke to John Sharrock, chairman of community group Barkingside 21, and found out what he loves about Redbridge and what he would change if he had the chance.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

Show Job Lists

Competitions

Having a brand new kitchen is something that lots of people want but can only dream of. Sadly keeping up to date and making our living spaces as nice as they can be is a costly and incredibly stressful business. Even a fresh coat of paint makes all the difference but isn’t easy or quick.

Who wouldn’t love the chance to go on a shopping spree. Imagine being able to walk into a shop and choose whatever your heart desires without having to worry about how much it costs.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Ilford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now