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Lost and found: Ilford homeless blogger talks about being religious and living on the streets

PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 August 2017

Homeless camp on Havelock Street in Ilford

Homeless camp on Havelock Street in Ilford

Rosaleen Fenton

Religious organisations in Redbridge are well known for the vast provision of homeless services they offer towards people in the borough.

From dishing out free meals to offering people shelter during the dark nights of winter, there are many ways to support Redbridge’s homeless population.

For many homeless people, faith and spirituality play a positive part in the lives, especially during difficult periods.

A 48-year-old blogger, who is currently living in temporary accommodation but has spent many nights on the streets of Ilford, has shared his experience.

On his blog, The Invisible Man: Diary of a Rough Sleeper, he talks about the role that God has played in his life.

He said: “The vast, vast majority of homeless people believe in a higher power, call him, or her what you like. I’m calling him God. It’s all the same anyway.

“Why on earth would life’s most unfortunate people believe in God? I used to think, before it happened to me, that it must be desperation on behalf of these poor souls.”

He added: “Down there in the gutter you really feel his presence.

“When you lose count of the near-death experiences, the wafer thin happenstances that saved your life, meeting exactly the right person at the right time.

“And finding just what you need when you need it, you just can’t deny his presence. I’ve never won the lottery. I don’t think that was my destiny.

“It probably would have been the most dangerous thing that could ever have happened to me.

“But I have lost count of the million to one coincidences which kept me going just another day.

“Sometimes I wish I had it easy but that just doesn’t seem to be my path. I don’t know, but I suspect I’m being educated. I think I needed to be educated.

“Just to be grateful for what I have.

“But him upstairs, he always looks after me.

“I could give you a million examples but it’s hard to grasp when it’s not your own experience.

“Like looking at someone else’s holiday slides. To an outsider they may seem coincidences. But you know when they’ve happened to you.”

To read more of The Invisible Man’s work, visit bit.ly/2we3ggv.

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