More than just a roof

06th October 2017

SASH works to prevent youth homelessness.  This is not as simple as just putting a roof over someone’s head. It also means minimising the impact of homelessness on other aspects of their life and ensuring their future prospects are not put at risk.

Lucy* is a SASH lodger.  Initially homeless as a result of family breakdown, she was living with her boyfriend and his parents. Lucy was working in a hair salon and was due to start an apprenticeship there in September. But staying at her boyfriend’s was only ever meant to be temporary, and when she had to leave she found herself with nowhere to live and with her apprenticeship at risk.

Lucy’s story demonstrates how SASH supports young people to overcome some fundamental challenges to get their life back on track. She explains how being in SASH Supported Lodgings has helped her to turn her life around.

“I didn’t have anywhere to live and I was worrying I wouldn’t be able to do my apprenticeship. I wanted to do that so that I could do something with my life, make a career.

It was a stressful time and I got very depressed. The council referred me to SASH and I moved into a Supported Lodgings placement.

Having somewhere stable to live meant I could continue with the apprenticeship. But then I found that to do the apprenticeship course at college, I needed £320 for the equipment and another £65 for the uniform. I didn’t have that sort of money. My income as an apprentice is lower than the minimum wage. I didn’t know how I’d be able to do it.

Carla, Lucy’s Support Worker at SASH, supported Lucy to get back on track with her apprenticeship:

Most people on an apprenticeship would be being supported by their family, and Lucy isn’t in that position. Or maybe the employer would lend the money and take it out of the wages over time. But because Lucy had chosen the work-related learning route, which means she spends four days a week at the salon and one day at college, she wasn’t entitled to any help from the college with her expenses.

I made an application to Buttle UK for a grant for her to buy the equipment and uniform. Then because she’s been staying really late at college to do her coursework, I asked for some money to buy her a laptop so that she could do that at home.

Also, Lucy lost her glasses when she moved. When she saw how expensive glasses were, she asked for contact lenses instead. But she’s never had a proper fitting for them so she was wearing contact lenses that hurt her eyes. The people at Buttle UK were happy to provide money for new glasses, and also a coat because she doesn’t have one.

Having the means to buy these items has made it possible for her pursue her apprenticeship as well as making her life a bit more comfortable. Now Lucy is looking forward to her future.

I feel better now. Without SASH I really don’t know where I would have gone, there weren’t really any more options.

Once I’ve finished I’ll be a fully qualified hairdresser. Then it’s the salon’s decision whether they take you on, but if they don’t I can go to another salon as a junior.
I’m feeling happy and excited about the future now.


*Her name has been changed to protect her privacy.