Guest blog by Shandor Nikitits
Last time, Shandor shared the emotions he felt when he broadcast his experience with homelessness to the world. Now, he tells us about the impact it had on him and his son…
I was not prepared for the effect the campaign had on our lives in the slightest. I felt that Billy was the star of our little segment and reminded him that this counted all towards his fifteen minutes of fame!
I was totally shocked to see there were over 1.5 million views and thousands of comments on the Channel 4 website. I was tempted to read and answer each one. Some of the comments were very positive and uplifting, while others were not so much. I felt to a certain extent that I had to justify my homelessness, as the media coverage spent very little time dwelling on my past circumstances. I was totally amazed to receive messages from people I went to school with over thirty years ago, who now live in Australia and New Zealand. They offered kind words and support… but no holidays yet! The whole experience was a good lesson for Billy about the power of the internet: it’s not just there to play games, it’s a powerful tool.
Food for thought
When I heard that Shelter’s campaign video had been nominated for an award, I wondered why… it’s only a video! I forgot all about it until I received a dinner invitation to the ceremony in London. Free food! I didn’t take it seriously at all – I hadn’t even ironed my DJ shirt – but I did wear a real bow tie on the night.
The venue was spectacular, and I soon realised we were up against some serious players. When it was announced that Shelter won in the first category listed, my reply was a resounding ‘bloody hell!’
I don’t feel like I can take credit for telling the truth. It’s Laurie and the team who should be the credit-takers. All I did was tell a story, they were the ones who edited it and made it presentable. Have I made a difference? I hope so! I hope that one person, at least, will be better off because of my involvement.
Looking to the future
We now have a wonderful little one-bedroom flat, which is our home. Although this didn’t come from being on the TV or sharing my story, I don’t regret any of it. And the sheer satisfaction of hanging pictures on the wall with picture hooks rather than Blu Tack is incredible. Billy is now a lot more settled and is slowly starting to make new friends. He’s come out of his shell more too, which is great. The only downside of this experience is that he’s already asking me how he will be able to afford somewhere to live when he is 18… He’s only eight.
So now Billy, Peach the rescue dog, James the tarantula and I are finally settled and happy.
Please, take any moment to listen and talk about stories and events. Share little anecdotes. Every little bit helps us to get our message across.