Emma’s Story

I came from a hectic background and ended up becoming homeless due to family breakdown. My family background is a bit rough, my relationship with my mum was not so great and we were constantly arguing. When I became homeless, I did not know where to turn; and got in touch with 16+ team at Social Services who referred me to Mary Seacole Housing Association.

I moved to Mary Seacole Housing Association about 2 years ago. When I was started off at Mary Seacole I did not have a direction or a purpose; I was quite happy to just live in the moment. Some of the issues I battled with were looking for work, I had very little training and work experience behind me, but I was always sure I wanted to work but needed help finding and sustaining a job.

I also battled with alcohol issues. I looked forward to Friday night when I would go out drinking with my friends and then struggle to budget my money for the rest of the week.

I think deep down I knew things needed to change and I didn’t have a straight forward journey at Mary Seacole Housing Association. I was moved from stage 2 back to stage 1; due to my own shortcomings. I eventually made it back to stage 2 and was allocated a new key worker.

My key worker helped me see that the outside influences were not having a positive impact on my life and was always there to talk to when I needed someone to listen to me; despite how trivial my issues were.

Some of my thoughts on being homeless initially were; it was a scary prospect, it was unfamiliar territory and it was quite nerve racking moving into somewhere, where you are completely on your own. At the beginning, moving to MSHA was very overwhelming.

When people think of a homeless hostel, they do not think of a comfortable homely environment, hence I thought MSHA was going to be the total opposite of what I wanted. I was pleasantly surprised; MSHA has such a friendly and homely feel to all of its projects. During my stay at the projects I made some lifelong friends that I still rely on for support.

One thing that sticks to mind is that despite my various moves, the staff did not give up on me, and at each stage I was supported and taught new skills. I was housed in my own flat in Marsh Farm, and it was nice to have my own space knowing that I still had support from MSHA’s outreach service. I got into a relationship and decided to move to Brighton with my then boyfriend. I was given a lot of support with my move on and with my move to Brighton even after I left MSHA by the Resettlement Officer; it was great to have someone to turn to.

Now I am a full-time carer and undergoing a NVQ level 2 in Health and Social Care as well as working as bar staff at Weatherspoons. I am hoping to go to college and get a nursing degree; and hope to save some money for a deposit on my own flat.

emmaI think the support at MSHA was great and I cannot think of what was bad other than maybe I felt nagged 1% too much; but then again I needed it. The best parts of living at MSHA was the support, communication, shelter and being able to talk to the staff openly and frankly.

Two particular people who come to mind as making a huge impact to my journey are; my keyworker who helped with so much such as cooking, cleaning, employability and so much more. The other person is the Resettlement officer, who was brilliant with my moving on and was always available, even after my move to Brighton. In all honesty though, all the staff were really supportive and each played a part in my journey from being homeless to being where I am now, with options.

One thing I still live by is what my keyworker taught me; be empowered enough not to let anyone take advantage of you.


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