Guest blog by Shandor Nikitits
Last time, Shandor told us about his experience with homelessness. He left off by telling us that he decided to share his story with Shelter – if only to help one other person struggling with the same situation…
I was very surprised at how friendly the Shelter team who came to film us were. They made me feel at ease… It was nothing like the sort of grilling I hear interviewers like John Humphries dish out!
I did wonder what it would feel like to have strangers to watch and comment on my ‘story’. Would the film crew be critical of me living with my son in this horrible state? Would I be judged and abused in the street? Was it a good idea to let my son, who was directly affected by the whole sorry affair, appear on screen too? This is tough to think and write about, even now.
Billy and I talked about it, and I concluded that telling my story was a good – but perhaps not the right – thing to do. What if he was bullied because of it? I reasoned that at most, how many people would be interested enough to watch the video? Perhaps two or three thousand? But then I was contacted by Channel 4 News…
Telling the nation my story
Wow! I wasn’t expecting national television coverage. I realised my story being shared so widely meant there was a chance that the people who triggered the events that led to my homelessness would see it. That scared me.
I began to wonder what Channel 4 News would ask me, and how I would come across on screen. I was even more worried than before that I would be seen as feckless, get taunted in the street, or worst of all, that my son would be ashamed of me.
My worries went away when I saw that the lady who interviewed me had obviously done her homework. She knew how to put me at ease and ask objective, yet sensitive questions. At no point did I feel like she was only there to scratch another story for her portfolio. The cameraman was also very professional and made me feel totally relaxed.
It’s still unnerving to see yourself on screen, especially talking about raw events and emotions. I had nothing to support me apart from the knowledge that I was telling the truth, but that in itself made everything easier.
This is one father's struggle to find a home for him and his son in time for Christmas.Nearly 130,000 children in the UK will be homeless this season, according to Shelter.
Posted by Channel 4 News on Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Scary, but the right choice
After the interview aired, I was barraged with messages from television producers. I finally agreed to do a live broadcast video for the Victoria Derbyshire show. I was even more nervous this time, as it was live and I was afraid of messing up and wasting everybody’s time. Afterwards, I only remembered Victoria’s comment that I was very articulate. I had to look that word up.
I now sincerely believe that speaking up was the right decision. I didn’t do it to get a new home, because there’s no guarantees. And yes, putting yourself at the mercy of the media is frightening, but the truth made telling my story easier. The experience also revealed parts of my character I thought I had lost due to my circumstances. It gave me the self-confidence I needed to voice my opinions, and believe I am worthy of other people’s time. Being homeless decimated these and other feelings I had. Being able to tell my story helped me pull my emotions back into focus.
Next week Shandor is sharing the final part of his story, keep your eyes on our blog.