Freezing cold, hunger and often horrendous levels of abuse; homelessness is a devastating experience. Now, in Lockdown 3, many of the vital services that are relied upon have been removed and for those with poor mental health – a cause and consequence of homelessness – COVID-19 has brought people close to the brink. People like Selma*.
“I would say no one expects homelessness to happen to them. But life is full of surprises and sometimes we end up in situations that we never thought we would.
“Before I left home, my life was very controlled. I didn’t feel loved. I was constantly seeking my father’s approval, which I never got. When my Dad told me to leave, I didn’t know what to do; I thought, I’m going to have to live on the street. I was feeling suicidal.
“For me, I thought it is better off being dead than being alive and having to deal with the situation.”
A sense of belonging
Not knowing where to turn, Selma sought help at the hospital where the psychiatric team recognised how fragile she was. It was Selma’s hospital liaison officer who brought her to Oasis Community Housing’s No.3 House in Peckham, south London.
Selma started helping out in the garden, cooking evening meals and signed up for online training courses to improve her employability skills, immediately connecting with everyone at the project.
“Now, I’ve got a job! I’m really happy about that because I really did fight for it – but it is also thanks to my Oasis key worker. They were really behind me, encouraging me and telling me not to give up, to keep going.
“Oasis has taught me the life skills I need. Now my plan for the future is to get my own place. I’m ready.”
Every year Oasis Community Housing supports thousands of people out of homelessness through prevention and intervention, addressing both the immediate needs and tackling the root causes. We exist to offer hope for a future for everyone facing homelessness.
*names have been changed