Audrey became homeless after fleeing a violent relationship. For six months, she lived in a tent on one of Kent’s beaches. It was freezing cold and terrifying.
“On my first night outside, the sound of a car startled me so much I ran from my tent. I thought my abusive ex-partner had found me.”
Although Audrey got more used to the situation, her trust in people didn’t return.
“Being homeless means you’re always on edge and the loneliness eats away at you until you start to lose faith in society. It does a lot of damage.”
Audrey moved into Porchlight supported accommodation in early 2020. She lived there for 17 months, during which time she was able to rebuild her life.
“When I moved into one of Porchlight’s supported houses, it felt so strange knowing that the staff were being nice to me – not because they had to, but because they wanted to. I have issues around closed doors because of my old relationship. Early on, I felt unable to sleep in a bedroom room so took my mattress to the common room and slept with the doors open. The staff never even commented on it because they understood what I was going through. They were really lovely. There were also regular tea and toast mornings, cooking activities, games nights, movie nights and house meetings. The structure they provided to my life became a comfort.”
During her time in supported housing, Audrey made a new friend. When both were ready to leave Porchlight’s supported housing and move into somewhere of their own, they decided to become housemates.
“It’s going well and we’re taking things day-by-day. We support one another and understand what each of us have been through.”
Audrey says that if Porchlight wasn’t there to help, she may not be around today.
“It saves lives. People on the streets didn’t ask to be homeless and would love a new start but need help to make it happen. Now, I feel like I belong in the community again, my confidence is back and I can walk around with my head held high.”