Jack’s Story

With the structure and support provided by Southend homelessness charity, HARP, Jack is now able to live independently with a solid focus on a both bright present and future. He is currently renting a flat with his partner and has an 8-month-old kitten.

Date published



Lauren Doy, Communications & Engagement Manager

HARP is Southend’s leading homeless charity, helping local people overcome homelessness for good.

LandAid have supported HARP in providing their services to young people who have been left homeless with nowhere else to turn.


As part of HARP's 20th Anniversary celebrations, we recently caught up with Jack, a 25 year old university student who was first supported by HARP back in 2019 following an eviction from his landlord.

I was terrified. Before I came to HARP I was in a really dark place mentally. My mum knew I needed more support than she could give me so she brought me to HARP.

He had been struggling with drug and alcohol addiction for years. His father was able to take him to support him but sadly passed away when Jack was only 21. While he was grieving for his father, Jack’s alcohol and drug use became a coping mechanism, resulting in him losing his job and eventually his home. 

I didn’t know what was going to happen but the thing that scared me the most was knowing that I couldn’t drink anymore. I just knew I had to stop. I looked around and saw where it had got me to so far – I was moving into a homeless shelter - and I thought ‘this is real’.

Jack moved into one of HARP’s supported housing projects, where he was able to get specialist help and guidance to guide him towards a path away from homelessness and addiction, and towards a more positive future.  

Jack is now in his final year of university studying Clinical & Community Psychology. He describes himself as having the ‘study bug’ and is currently achieving good grades. Jack is even contemplating a Masters at Kings College in London. 

When Jack was going through difficult times, he didn’t really believe in himself. By being given a place to stay and, crucially, support from HARP’s staff and volunteer team, he has had the chance to reinvent himself. 

I can’t thank this place enough for what it’s done for me. Before this I didn’t have support around me but sometimes you just need someone to say ‘I believe in you’, to pat you on the shoulder when you do something positive and say ‘well done, keep going’. That’s what a lot of people need – just that bit of support. Without HARP, things would have gotten really bad, I would have fallen through the cracks and possibly wouldn't even be here anymore. I used the opportunity to turn things around and I'm now living a good life with a bright future.