After having difficulty getting a place to stay for nearly a year and and a half of being homeless, I came across HAB,(Homeless Action in Barnet). I had been sleeping on the streets and buses and on some occasions I had been assaulted on the buses. When I first came to HAB, I was able to get a square meal and a place to wash. That winter was exceptionally cold and fortunately, I got a place in The Winter Shelter. I got housed in a couple of months in a hostel that is managed by HAB. By working with my key worker, I got accepted in a work programme through (BITC) Business in the Community. This enabled me get work experience by work-shadowing at Freshfield Deringer, a law firm in the city, through their corporate responsibility scheme. Later I got a job with the Hotel Lancaster, London in their events department. This has boosted my confidence and I'm determined to remain there and do my best to stay employed in this economic climate. I want to thank everyone in the HAB for all the help I got and that I am still getting. They helped me keep my sanity helping by being there in my time of need.
When I first came to the HAB Day Centre, it was probably the lowest point in my life. I had been working as a sex worker for the previous four months. The money I made from doing this job was spent on alcohol to numb me from the shame and pain I was feeling. I had been homeless for about a year before coming to HAB. I had been ‘sofa-surfing’ with various friends but soon my options ran out and I ended up having to sleep rough in parks, garages and on night buses.
During this time, I made an attempt to end my life by taking an overdose of sleeping pills. As soon as I came through the doors at HAB I felt extremely welcomed. I was given a support worker, who referred me to HAB’s alcohol worker, who was able to help me reduce my drinking. I was also referred into Barnet’s mental health services, who helped me with my depression and suicidal thoughts. HAB was able to put me in an emergency bed place in Barnet and from this, I was moved on to private rented accommodation, which is where I am now. I still have a way to go before getting my self-esteem back to how it was a few years ago – but thanks to the support I received at HAB I feel I am certainly on the right track. I am about to go back to college to do a part time course in music production which I am really excited about.
I was extremely scared and confused when I first became homeless. I work in nursing and the type of work I was doing, means I travelled around the London area, doing short stints in various nursing homes. The friend I was staying with could not support me anymore. I did not have enough money for a deposit and a month’s rent, so I became homeless, spending the night on night buses and sleeping rough. I lost my job as a result of my situation.
After making some enquiries, I came across Homeless Action in Barnet. The staff and volunteers gave me a really friendly and warm welcome and I felt supported and listened to. I had not had a proper wash for a few weeks and was very hungry, as I had not had a proper meal for a while. HAB was able to help out with showers and breakfast and lunch every day I was there. I was also able to access telephones and computers, so I could make contact with my family and look for accommodation. I was signposted in the direction of a housing scheme in Barnet that paid the first month’s rent and deposit on my behalf. Within two weeks of first coming to HAB’s Day Centre I had found a flat and when I moved in, I was also given many household items to start me off. I never thought that I would become homeless and have been overwhelmed with the support I found at HAB. I am now in a position to get my nursing career up and running again.