Friends, I hope you are all well. I thought it was about time I posted a life update as I know I’ve been relatively quiet in this regard over the last few weeks.
Some big news is that a few days ago I gave notice to my landlord (which is a housing association) that I am ending my tenancy. This is a big decision. This is the property where I have lived for the last nine years, but in all honesty the last few years it hasn’t really been a proper home, because as many of you know I’ve been forced to sleep elsewhere most nights due to a particularly troublesome neighbour.
I pursued many courses of action attempting to stay in the property because I love everything about it. Great location, amply spacious, my own kitchen and bathroom, nice area. If it wasn’t for my neighbour I would have been perfectly happy there. But feeling continually in danger, and harassed, meant that I haven’t been able to enjoy the place as a home. Things have been so bad at times that I’ve been suicidal. So it’s time to move on.
Here in the UK we have a council for each area (or ‘borough’) who deal with matters related to housing and accommodation. I submitted a homelessness application to them when it felt things were too unsafe at the flat, but unfortunately after initially indicating that they did believe I was homeless, they conducted a further telephone interview with me, and came to the conclusion that because I haven’t been assaulted or threatened directly with assault, it’s safe for me to live at the property.
The rejection from the council was deeply saddening. I spoke to the manager of the person who carried out the review, and said I might like to appeal. She said that I would be sent their assessment by email or post imminently, but then never sent it. So I was just left hanging. The fact that my homelessness application wasn’t successful means they are not willing to provide me with alternative accommodation, so I am essentially now homeless.
I haven’t been back to the flat in a few weeks (other than a couple of middle-of-the-night quick visits to pick up a few essentials). It appears my neighbour has been having parties involving drugs while I’ve been away — on one occasion when I returned there were three bicycles in the communal hallway, the house stank of marijuana, and there was extremely loud music playing. It’s difficult to convey this to some people (some of you may understand) but there was a very dark and evil atmosphere in the property which was really quite suffocating, so I left almost immediately. Always best to flee from evil, if possible.
My neighbour has had plenty of opportunities to change his behaviour, but any time he is rebuked, whether it be by me, the landlord, or the police, it makes no difference. He doesn’t seem to care about the effect he is having on the other tenants, and he doesn’t seem to mind breaking the conditions of his tenancy. He has been getting away with it because the landlord (to whom I have reported everything over the last few years) simply make terrible excuses like “you have no evidence” and “he doesn’t realise he’s doing it”.
I feel relieved to have handed in my four week’s notice, but I have no new home lined up. It’s difficult for me to find private rented accommodation because of my mental health condition — I always try to be open with landlords about this, but it almost always leads to an instant rejection, as they fear people who have mental health problems are going to cause them trouble.
Over the last few days, I’ve been sleeping on the floor of a friend’s living room. She has been amazing and cooked lovely meals for us on three occasions, and I stayed there three nights in total. The streets of London are dangerous so my friend’s generosity in letting me stay with her was a huge blessing, though I don’t want to stay with her too many nights and become a burden to her and her son who lives with her.
There is some hope in the fact that I have a new social worker who works for the council, who I had a meeting with last week, and we discussed a wide range of matters related to mental health and accommodation. I later got an email from him saying he is aways for five days, three of those days have passed so it’s likely I’ll speak with him again on Tuesday (in two days time) when he’s back in the office.
Tonight, I am booked into a cheap hotel — my finances are very stretched (I am deep into my overdraft) but starting tomorrow I will be going through the process of organising matters related to the end of my tenancy (such as canceling bills, notifying the energy and water suppliers that I am leaving, etc). I will also need to inform the government’s department for work and pensions that I am intending to leave the flat, which will likely mean they withdraw some or all of the financial support they have been giving me.
On a positive note, I have been listening to the Qur’an nearly every day which I find to be incredibly reassuring and grounding. I have also been reading the Psalms, which are very comforting. I find great reassurance in scriptures such as, “Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked”. Living with very little money is hard, but wealth is not something to be prized in God’s eyes (according to Scripture), unless it’s used for positive purposes, of course.
I’m very blessed to have written sixteen books exploring all of the big problems and questions of philosophy and theology, and I see these books as a significant part of my calling. I am therefore focusing my attention on trying to make some money from book sales. Part of the way I intend to do this is by giving flyers to people on the street (I have some being printed at the moment), and I’m also going to explore the possibility of speaking in some venues like churches, mosques, community centres, libraries, etc.
I made all of my books free as eBooks for a long time, but have now returned them to their list price at all retailers. I’m hoping some money from books sales will help me to be able to afford food and emergency shelter if I am not able to find a permanent place to live.
If you enjoy my writing and have found value in reading my articles and the books I have given away for free, I’d be very grateful if you would consider buying one or more of my books. You can find details about them all on the Books page. Alternatively, I am accepting donations, and any amount large or small would be very helpful and much appreciated. I have also set up a Speaking page, to let people know I am available to give talks in venues or at events.
You can buy my books directly from me via my Shopify store (this gives me the biggest slice of the monetary pie), but they are also available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple Books, Rakuten Kobo, and plenty of other retailers and libraries. Ebook, paperback, and some hardcover versions are available. Again, see the Books page for full details.
One final thing I wanted to mention is that I’m selling my MacBook Air, simply because I’m in dire need of the money. If you are based in the UK and are in need of a new laptop, you can view the listing on eBay here (or email me and we can come to some kind of arrangement). It’s an M1 2020 MacBook Air in pretty much perfect condition, I have really looked after it.
If you have read to the end of this article, please leave a comment! It makes me feel loved to know that people care enough about me to read my articles. You are also welcome to leave a link in your comment to the latest article on your blog and write a sentence explaining what it’s about if you would like to — I, and maybe some others, will take a look! 😊
Wishing you all well and thank you for reading!