“All I was thinking was, ‘what is going to happen to me?’”

I’ve been in SASH for about a year and a half. I found out about it through college, after talking to an advisor who knew about the problems I was having. They sent me to Castlegate and I was referred to SASH from there.

My mum and I had a lot of differences, it was affecting my health so I decided to take myself out of the situation. I left my mum’s and went to live at my boyfriend’s, but as soon as I turned 18 his mum asked me to leave.

So I went to stay with another friend, but they weren’t the nicest person that I could have chosen. I was going over to stay in Leeds every weekend just to get away from them. They were constantly threatening to boot me out, so I was worried about that, and there were bailiffs at the door, druggies, things like that. It wasn’t very nice. I was sofa surfing for about four months altogether.

I was still going to college, but my mind was all over the place and I wasn’t with it, so studying was difficult. My tutors knew what was going on, they gave me a little bit more leeway with some things but not with others.

All I was thinking was, ‘what is going to happen to me?’  because of where I was living.My attention was off all the time because there was so much on my mind. I couldn’t focus on one thing for very long, so I would do some work for about half an hour but then that was it, I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything. They didn’t seem to understand it was because I had so much on my mind.

I didn’t think of giving up college, but what was worrying was I thought I was going to have to get a job, work nights and go to college during the day, to be able to rent my own place. So then I wouldn’t be getting much sleep and I wouldn’t be able to study effectively.

When I heard about SASH I thought it was fantastic. Just to get out of where I was. Obviously I had some worries, but they were really minor. I was just happy to find somewhere else to go.

When I first met my host, Helen, I thought ‘she’s awesome!’ She showed me around the place and I could tell she had that kind of personality that I would get on with. I knew I would fit in there. At first I couldn’t sleep very well, because it was a new environment, but gradually I settled in.

Going to Helen’s has made a lot of difference to me. Things at college got better. By the time I’d moved in, it was summer time, so I had the holidays to get sorted, get a grip with where I was, get used to the bus times, to the people I was living with. Everything is a lot better this year.

I always knew that I wanted to go to uni, have my own business, then start a family. I’ve always known how it was going to go, it’s just when it was going to go, because obviously being homeless put a setback on things. But I always knew that I was going to go to uni, at some point, even if it meant that I’d have to work for three years straight and then go to uni.

The main motivation was to get away from York, start afresh. Just be in a new environment, be me, be able to relax and not have loads of baggage. And I wanted to carry on learning. Something with art, either graphics or illustration. As I did more research I found that my style was more children’s illustration. I’ve always loved children, and my plan B was to work with children, so I thought why not combine the two.

Being in SASH, I definitely improved my cooking skills. Helen’s taught me how to do a chicken dinner and things like that. Budgeting was also a problem before. I had to ban myself from online shopping because that become a problem whenever I was finding things difficult, but it’s better now.

I’m hoping to go to Sheffield Hallam. Everything about Sheffield seemed good, the station, town, accommodation, everything was close to the uni, plus they have a sandwich year for the third year so you get some work experience.

Without SASH, things would be a lot different. I’d probably be sharing a house with a friend, just working, moseying on with my life. I would have left college and got a job to survive. I’d probably still be doing things I shouldn’t, sat in my room smoking weed, trying to cover up my problems and I wouldn’t have go the help I needed.

I’m always recommending SASH! I’m constantly saying to people if they get into the situation where they’re homeless, there’s this route they can go down. It’s just the best thing. It’s been a lot of help for me.

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