I’m 19 and it was quite a shock to find myself homeless and at Shelter from the Storm. I was studying at Central Saint Martins and living in Halls. I needed to take time out from my studies. I am estranged from my family in the North of England and I was suffering emotional distress and found it difficult to concentrate on my degree. Because of this my Student Loan was suspended. I couldn’t pay my rent and had to leave my room. I managed to use the remains of my Bursary to fund hostels but that only lasted a couple of weeks. I went to New Horizon Youth Centre and they referred me to SFTS.
When I arrived at the shelter I felt very emotional and I cried all that first night, but I soon began to see that the people were really kind and supportive – they made me feel comfortable and tried to put me at ease. There is a stereotype of what a homeless shelter is, but I soon realised that this place wasn’t at all how I imagined a shelter would be – it’s homely and cosy. I like how there is autonomy here, you don’t feel dehumanised and I still have the freedom to be myself but in a supportive environment.
I’m looking at finding a nice job now so I can move into my own place as soon as I’m settled in my employment and have saved up enough for a deposit. I’m feeling more hopeful for the future and I want to resume my studies next year.