Our interview with :


Please note: We have used a stock image to protect our client’s identity.

Could you tell us about the start of your journey with homelessness and what your experience was like?

I was at risk of rough sleeping after a domestic violence situation. I was sofa-surfing for 4 months and I was then in temporary accommodation for 3 years. I was told that there was going to be a safe space for women but it turned out that everyone else in the house was male. All the other tenants were from different walks of life, the experience was really traumatic and the landlord seemed to not be supportive: the landlord wanted the rent so wasn’t bothered about their individual situations. The council was paying them to have the temporary accommodation. It was absolute chaos and being in the property was causing more problems than it was worth.

I was put in contact with a partner charity and they did a lot of work with me: helping with paperwork I lost during the transition and working out the best steps for me to go forward. I was on the waiting list for a council property for years. It took 3 years to eventually get the flat I’m currently in. It was really frustrating and difficult waiting for that long.

I really believe that seeing people case-by-case is really important and not just seeing people in a certain way based on their overarching situation. Individuality is so important. It can be really hard for the person to find themselves, breaking the only cycle you know is a massive step.

Could you tell us what your grant was used for and what impact that had on your life at the time? Did it make any difference?

When I was eventually given a flat, my partner and I came in with absolutely nothing. We spent 3 weeks sleeping on the floor. The funding from Greater Change helped us furnish the property, including sofas and beds.

The impact of gradually seeing a blank canvas transform into your home brings you back to life and rebuilds your character that was taken from you when you were ripped to shreds going through homelessness. It was a really transformative experience.

The council gave a paint grant - selected colours, selected amounts etc - there is a serious lack of choice. Why do people who are homeless have personalisation taken away from them?

What is your opinion on the support we provide as opposed to other support services?

No one knows the realistic cost of furniture honestly - it’s so good that it is case by case so that people can choose the things they want for themself and set up those all those angles of helping someone: should we send it to them? Should we give them vouchers? Tell me what you would like? There is such a need for flexibility which Greater Change provides.

Since receiving our grant, what kind of situation are you in now? Are you in stable housing?

Everyday is a struggle - worrying about bills, foods, things breaking - but everything in my home is ours. I’m taking everyday as it comes but it’s nice knowing that once I lock my door that this is our little sanctuary.

We live day by day - Universal Credit is a month’s worth of money, some days we really have to juggle and go without milk for a few days. That’s it.

A lot of people in the UK have never spoken to someone who is homeless and there are a lot of stigmas and stereotypes surrounding homelessness. What would you say to someone who may be misinformed?

I used to be one of those people that really believed in those stereotypes and think ‘they’ve done that to themselves’, now being in a situation like that myself to a degree, not everyone is lucky enough to maintain a job, have good mental health, have the right circumstances and I try not to judge a book by it’s cover.

What do you like about where you're living now?

Coming away from a big town to having a life in a nice little village has really helped me. It’s really peaceful and better for my mental health. It’s nice to be able to go for a walk in the forest and take myself out of things that may be triggering me. People are really lovely around here, they always say good morning and you feel like part of the community.

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