“I felt like I had my identity taken away” – Mark is rebuilding his life

“I felt like I had my identity taken away” – Mark is rebuilding his life


People find themselves homeless for many reasons, creating a cycle they are unable to break. It can be difficult to ask for help and living with mental health issues or addiction can only make this harder. Providing a roof over someone’s head and a support system to rely on can help to break these cycles, which is why the work at Faringdon Lodge is so important.

When Faringdon Lodge was designed, there was an aim to put people at the heart of the concept. A view that every resident would have their own space, as well as communal living spaces and support readily available on-site. The charity, Social Interest Group (SIG), provides that essential care and support to the residents at Faringdon Lodge and creates a safe space for people to talk.

The building was a former care home and is run by Manager Lucy and Deputy Manager Mehmet, who are helping to rehabilitate the residents. There are 25 individual units within the property, all of which are freshly decorated and refurbished in an eco-friendly way to bring costs down for residents.

According to the tenant rights charity Shelter, one in five people have experienced mental health issues as a result of housing. National Housing Group is on a mission to provide better housing to those that need it, helping to improve mental health amongst those who find themselves without a place to stay.


Mark moved into Faringdon Lodge in November 2022 after splitting up with his long term partner. The pair had recently had a child and Mark felt it was better for both of them to go their separate ways to be the best parents they could be.

Unfortunately for Mark, this led to him sofa surfing, before ending up on the streets for a couple of months. For someone like Mark, who had always had a home, this was a devastating blow to his mental health.

Mark said: “I felt like I had my identity taken away, and I was just having to start again. Like having five years just kicked from underneath me, or ten years’ worth of work.”

Like many of the residents at Faringdon Lodge, Mark is battling addiction, which he wants to overcome with the help of the staff. The team is trained to support people with complex needs, including substance miss-use, alcohol miss-use and those with mental health issues.

“I have ended up getting a bit of a drug habit with cocaine over the last year. I need to get it sorted, and then I’ll be all good again.

“The plan is to stay here and get clean, engage with the programme and find out what things and services I need. I want to try and get some stability.”

When asked about the impact cocaine has had on his life, Mark is honest about what he feels it has taken away from him. “It took a lot. It took just about everything.”

            Mark – Faringdon Lodge resident


Part of the programme at Faringdon Lodge is to provide groups including Cocaine Anonymous amongst others, which offer support to residents staying at the building. The staff are supportive and understanding of the process of recovery and the implications being homeless can have on the mental state of a person.

Each person staying at Faringdon Lodge has their own space and are encouraged to do their own cooking, helping out with making breakfast in the morning. This is part of a plan to set them up for independent living when they leave. 

The needs of each resident are different and the staff will support them with anything from helping them to get clean and sober, to managing their finances and supporting them with appointments.

Mark believes the support he has been given is helping him to start turning his life around, a goal he has clearly fixed in his mind.

Mark said: “I could have potentially been on the street, homeless for even longer than I was without somewhere like this. I think they have done really well with the place, catering for the complex needs that different people have.

“They have provided us with adequate spaces – I think that’s so important. I was lucky to get the room that I have, it’s perfect for me.”

The length of time each resident stays at Faringdon Lodge can vary, depending upon their individual needs. Mark visits his child when he can and he feels hopeful for the future, now he is at Faringdon Lodge. He is aiming to stay at the facility no longer than 6 months.

“I feel like I finally have some traction now I’m here. I’m hoping to not be here longer than a year, I was hoping around 6 months or something. Sort it out and get back to life.

“I haven’t attended any groups yet, so I don’t know anything about them but I know they’re important. Catch up with me in three months and I’ll tell you more!”