John

When John became homeless in 2012, it was a real surprise for him. Having lived in a flat in Gospel Oak for 30 years, he never imagined that he would end up without a home for four months before moving into Arlington.

Self-employed John currently lives in one of the low-income flats at Arlington.

Journalist, screenwriter, actor, musician, part-time model and qualified teacher are just a few of John’s credentials acquired over the years. Since living at Arlington, he has become a regular volunteer at the Pirate’s Castle in Camden, assisting young people with disabilities to access water sport activities – an opportunity he secured through Arlington’s employment and training academy.

He also helps other residents, whose first language isn’t English, to improve their communication skills by teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes in his spare time and has joined theatre group Cardboard Citizens where he performs and delivers workshops in hostels across London.

John’s dedication and positive attitude towards life is a real inspiration to others.

John said: “It was a real shock to me when I became homeless. I didn’t think it could happen to me, especially in my mid-fifties!

"I was living in a flat in Gospel Oak for 30 years. After the death of my landlord I discovered that I had no rights to stay in the property and was given just a month’s notice to move out.

"I ended up having to stay with various friends for four months, also known as sofa surfing.

"When I moved into Arlington I met Louise from the employment and training academy who told me about the volunteering opportunity working with children with disabilities at the Pirate’s Castle.

"I like being able to volunteer for local charities like Pirate’s Castle that help to address local issues.

"I just try to keep myself busy. You have two simple choices in life. You either live your life to the fullest or do nothing and die.”