A NEW START FOR SUSAN
Susan has been a resident at Caritas Anchor House for just over a year, and this week, she became the 50th resident to move into their own home so far this year.
“If there was no Caritas Anchor House, or supported accommodation for people experiencing homelessness, I would be on the streets like many others”
Susan has lived in East London for over 40 years, after moving to the UK from Grenada aged 10. However, in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, Susan’s treasured home was knocked down to make way for modern, private developments. She was temporarily rehoused by the council into a small bedsit with others, but the offer of more permanent housing never came.
Susan worked for the NHS for many years, and craved a home where she felt more secure and comfortable after her long working days. She began privately renting, but when the landlord decided to sell the property with little notice, Susan became homeless.
“Homelessness is very degrading. I left so low and embarrassed; I was begging people for a place to stay. When I was sofa-surfing I felt I had to be so careful – I was frightened to go into the fridge, frightened to eat any food in case it was too much.”
Susan was referred to Caritas Anchor House, and moved in shortly after. At first, she felt overwhelmed by the number of new neighbours she had and the busy environment here. But thanks to the community of support and engagement with our staff she soon enough came out of her shell and made lot of new friends.
“I’m so thankful to my keyworker. She is so patient, calm and kind, which is exactly what I needed after all I’d been through in my year of homelessness. She did so much for me, including helping prepare me for moving into my new home.”
Susan has been involved with many different projects here. As a talented cook, she took part in our cooking clubs with FEAST, and helped cook countless meals at resident BBQ’s and events. Recently, she has joined our residents campaign for local developers to commit to providing affordable housing, in collaboration with TELCO – part of Citizens UK.
Samantha, who is helping to lead the campaign, said, “Susan is great at talking to other residents about why empowering themselves and fighting for their own homes is so important. She really cares about people experiencing homelessness, and is passionate about supporting her community.”
After a year living at Caritas Anchor House, Susan is pleased to have moved into our own home this week. She is now living in privately rented accommodation, for retired people. She looks forward to having somewhere to call home again, and continuing her involvement in the housing campaign so that others can have the same chance.