What if you suddenly found yourself stuck in the city, with nowhere to live and nothing but a suitcase?
Here’s the story of Laura*, a 23 year-old woman who we helped though our “Road Map” project.
“When I came to the Centre I had not slept for two days. I had suddenly found myself homeless and was in too much shock and shame to work out what the sensible thing to do was. I had already paid all the money I had to move into a property – but it wasn’t available for another week. In the mean time I had been riding on bus routes endlessly and trying to look normal despite my enormous suitcases. I realize that people in London can be homeless for many years, but I’m sad to admit that these few days were enough to break me. I was almost ready to give up on life.
“However, almost by accident, I ended up attending a free lunch event called the Community Feast. I felt safe there and soon learned that they could offer support with my housing situation. To my shock I discovered that they were able pay for me to stay somewhere until I could move into my own place. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to sleep somewhere safe that night. I am a resourceful and positive person and really just needed some time and space to work things out.”
Operating in the heart of London forces us to be realistic about the circumstances people face in terms of finding accommodation. For most of our visitors, the journey from being stuck on the streets to securing a roof over their heads is a perilously long and lonely road.
I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to sleep somewhere safe that night.
“Road Map” is our strategy to find short-term solutions to otherwise long-term housing problems.
When people are at risk of rough sleeping, with nowhere else to turn, we are able to pay for them to spend up to 10 nights in a travel hostel while we work on a long-term support plan.
The project offers tailored support and services to people who want to rebuild their lives but have encountered a short-term housing obstacle to moving forward. Sometimes this also involves paying for travel expenses to attend job interviews, buying uniforms for work or securing photo ID and documents to get into housing projects.
The ethos of the project is to give people a fighting chance of finding an alternative to sleeping rough. Since its launch in December 2017, we have helped 40 individuals with accommodation who would have otherwise been forced to sleep rough.