The Diary of a Homeless Musician
By: Simi Solomon Streatham Baptist Church
My name is Derek, and sleeping out in the entrance of a local Christian bookshop brought me closer to home. Here’s how: the upper part of the shop is Manna House, an organisation that supports homeless people. Here I found a loving welcome, warm surroundings and it felt safe and comforting like home. I got to know the churches that support and care for homeless people and became familiar with the day-to-day cycle of provision.
On Monday evenings, there is a well-prepared meal and conversation at United Reformed Church (beside Tesco). On Tuesday and Wednesday, I’m at Spires (St Leonard's Church Outreach and Learning centre). You will find me on Thursday mornings, at Ichthus Southcroft’s Community Tea-Table, where one day a young man put his hand on my shoulder and said “Welcome home!", placing a warm wool coat over me. I was moved to tears at his generosity. On Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons, Manna House has unlimited food for us to eat and take away. These places were my refuge and safety come rain, come shine, as well as a way to have a chat and socialise.
Eighteen months on, I have my own place and returned to a love of music from my teenage years, and now I tutor it to make a living. A big thank you to the churches - the lifeline for homeless people in Streatham.