Petko was referred to the Routes Home service in April 2017. He is 38, a Bulgarian citizen from Veliko Turnovo, who lived in the UK from May 2011 until October 2013, then came back to London, looking for a job again, in March 2015.
Petko first slept rough in December 2016 for four months. After being referred in by an outreach team, Petko moved into a hostel bed space provided by the Routes Home service where he stayed from April until July 2017.
Petko experienced mental ill health and had suicidal thoughts at times. He said he had had a similar episode of depression about 10 years ago. Petko’s aim was to get off the streets and be supported to recover.
After living in the hostel for around two months, Petko began to become more confident and positive about life.
Whilst Routes Home staff were working with Petko, it transpired that in his home town there were no emergency support centres for men. The Routes Homes team managed to arrange for Petko to be considered for a shelter in Russe, North Bulgaria which supports vulnerable people as a way of positively reconnecting him back home. Petko decided this was the best option for him and he was happy to return home, in order to improve his physical and mental health.
In July 2017 Petko returned to Bulgaria, accompanied by his Routes Home worker. Petko said: “It was like going to an unknown place, I was away from my country for long.”
Petko settled into the shelter quickly, however, and his mental and physical health improved dramatically. The Routes Home team have kept in touch with Petko and since being back in Bulgaria, Petko has reconnected with his family and has been to visit his mother and brother. His recovery is constantly progressing and he has started to look for a job in order to get his life fully back on track.
Petko initially moved into the shelter for homeless and vulnerable people in Russe. As of January 2018, he is staying in a friend’s house. He is still in contact with Routes Home staff and says his mental health is stable.
Petko says “I am grateful to the Routes Home team for the help and their efforts. I was in a desperate situation back in the spring with depression and rough sleeping. I appreciate their help.”