When she was growing up, Abi’s parents had financial difficulties and the family moved around a lot, staying in different apartments and holiday homes.
By the time she was 18, Abi did not have her own room in the family home. She was sleeping on the sofa in the living room, had no privacy and nowhere to study. It was hard to keep up with her college work and her part-time job. Eventually, the tensions and arguments became too much and Abi left to stay with a friend.
She’d been there some time when her mother became ill. She was asked to move back home to help her, but it wasn’t long before things got bad again.
“I was scared,” says Abi.
“She’d been violent before and it reached the stage where one day the police warned me not to go home. I was at college at the time, and they referred me straight to Nightstop.”
Abi already knew about Nightstop, as it had been offered to her as an option in the past. She says she was really anxious about it at first, but then found it a real relief once she was there:
“I could sleep in a normal bed, it was my own bed, I could come downstairs, sit on a normal sofa. It felt really good, it was actually really nice.”
Abi says she doesn’t know what she would have done without SASH.
“I would probably have gone to stay with friends, but that’s really difficult. Although they’re your friends and they want to help, you feel guilty, you have to keep moving around. It would have affected my course, my job, everything.”
After a few nights in Nightstop she was offered a Supported Lodgings placement with SASH to help her get back on her feet. “Once I’d decided to take it, it was good to feel settled, to know I had the same place to come back to each night. That’s what I needed to be able to carry on with college.”
For Abi, having the support of SASH meant she was not on the streets and gave her a chance to prepare for the next stage:
“My support worker has helped me find somewhere to live. I’m in a student house now, sharing with other students. I get on well with them and I’m really enjoying it.”
“For the first time in my life, I look forward to coming home.”