Alex and Shadow

E. Smith Service user stories

Alex arrived in our Gateway, along with a cat in a basket, seeking support, having recently been evicted from a property they’d lived for several years.

Unfortunately, we are unable to take pets into our Night Shelter and Alex didn’t want to be parted from her cat, Shadow. We talked with Alex about her options, when we discovered more about the circumstances surrounding the eviction, we suggested that she go to her local council, which she did. We heard nothing more until Alex came back to see us three weeks later, this time without the cat, who’d moved in with friends.

Alex had spent the previous three weeks rough sleeping in a graveyard in Lewisham, and was dependent on the generosity of strangers. Eventually, the local council had suggested that Alex approach us with a view to staying in our Night Shelter while proceeding with an application for supported accommodation.

Like many of the people we work with, Alex has experienced trauma and has a long history of depression and anxiety, which has been managed with substance use, in this case, alcohol. Despite these challenges, life was going pretty well, with a job, a flat, a cat – until a breakdown turned this all upside down.

Because of the breakdown she could no longer work, got into rent arrears and was then evicted.

Alex was extremely nervous about coming into the 999 Club Night Shelter. She had never been anywhere like the Shelter before, and had never expected to need this kind of service, but she agreed to give it a go in the absence of any other option. Although fearful at first, Alex was extremely positive about the support on offer and, seven days later, moved into the supported accommodation arranged by the local council. It’s early days, but Alex is doing really well and looking forward to being reunited with Shadow.

Names have been changed for reasons of confidentiality.