Markus' Story

Markus. Service user's story.

Markus experienced homelessness as a teen

From childhood, life has dealt Markus a difficult hand. There have been some ups but mostly downs - and seldom a safe place to call home. At his lowest point, he struggled to see any way forward. Thankfully, Shelter Scotland could offer Markus a helping hand through our Safe and Sound project in Dundee.

Growing up with my mum was like waiting for a ticking time bomb to go off. I looked after my wee brother, getting him ready for school, taking him and picking him up. But, still, all her violence was at me.

When I was nine, mum beat me up so bad, I went to the social department myself.

I was terrified going to social services, but more scared to stay at home. They put me in a care home and then I got sent to this residential school. It was the first time in my life I'd ever had stuff stable. But, at sixteen, I was suddenly out of there with no support at all.

At this time, Markus went back to his mum's. His depression got worse and he started self-harming. He had to leave and ended up in a series of hostels.

It was really scary to be sixteen, in and out of hostels with men offering you heroin.

All this time, my Gran meant everything to me. When she finally got a house, I moved in with her. She was unwell, so I'd get the shopping, make her tea. It was a lovely time, actually. I was going to college, doing dance. I got offered auditions in London, but I turned them down. Gran had cared for me, so now I wanted to look after her.

Sadly, Markus's gran became more unwell and she passed away when he was seventeen.

Mum told me to kill myself and "join gran". I took a razor to my wrists and woke up in hospital.

It seemed nothing would ever stay stable for me. My best friend died when I was nineteen. I was homeless, bouncing around friends' sofas. I slept in a closet, in the cold.

It was at this point that Markus found himself standing on a bridge, contemplating suicide.

I just wanted to end it. But then I heard my gran's voice in my head, telling me not to. So, the next day, I went to Shelter Scotland and met Karen at Safe and Sound. I told her everything. She didn't push us, or force us to talk; she just listened.

And from then, things changed. Shelter Scotland found me a house and came with me to view it. I walked in and fell in love.

Having his own place means the world to Markus.

When I was wee, we were never anywhere long enough to make friends or feel at home. Now I've got that, I cook again, I dance again with my nieces and nephews, I draw... Those are the things that make me, me.

Markus also knows that there is someone he trusts to talk to, so any further setbacks needn't mean that everything falls apart.

When my wee brother died in prison, I wanted to hurt myself again but Karen bought us sketchbooks to express my emotions.

Markus is so grateful for the support he's received and, every Monday, he volunteers his time to give back to Shelter Scotland

I teach young people. We'll go shopping with them, help them with stuff like budgeting, getting them ready for independent living. Gran would be looking down with a big smile. She'd be proud of the life I'm making. And I'll be great, just knowing I've made her proud.

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