“Now I feel like I have my place where I am safe. I have a place where I can go to sleep; I’m safe, I have my shower, I can cook my food. Before I was on the street – I wasn’t safe, and I was scared 24 hours a day. I can finally do my things, if I am hungry, I can make my food; if I need to wash my clothes, I can do that. I feel like a human, not an animal. Before on the streets, where I couldn’t wash my clothes, I had to stay in dirty clothes. Now I can sleep in a bed, I can use the shower when I want. I feel like a human should feel. This is most important, is because I am a woman and I feel safe.
I can close the door, and I feel really safe and really comfortable with that. Nobody is going to come to me in the night-time and wake me up and ask me about not nice things, I feel safe. This is the most important for me because before every night I was going to sleep feeling scared. I think for most women it’s very important to just feel safe, because on the street you don’t feel safe, especially at the night-time.
I have a son, and I have my mum, and I can just invite them here, it’s much better. They can come to me for visits, I can show them London, they can stay here comfortably, so it’s very good for me. I’m thinking about some courses, and I bought a sewing machine and will start to learn. Keeping myself busy and doing something that I like. On the streets, you don’t have time to think about this, your focus is on making money and food and finding a place for another night because usually, you’re sleeping in different places every night.”
Esme – Housing First
“I was homeless – living in a cold derelict building with no support services four years ago. I had to sleep under three duvets, and I had nothing. The council referred me to a B&B before I got into a hostel where I was for three years, then I was introduced to Solace Housing First. I didn’t know anything about Housing Associations until then. This flat just feels like a dream. I never imagined I would get housed in this area. I feel so lucky, I could have been God knows where. I feel like things have just got better and better.”
Ruby- Housing First