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Bitania’s story 

"Your Place is like a family. You never feel alone. They motivate you to keep learning, keep staying strong and keep moving towards your goals."

When I came to Your Place, I was here as an asylum seeker. I came to London having lived in different places, trying to get a better life for myself, one that was safe and away from the danger I experienced back home. I was born in Eritrea and moved to Sudan when I was young. Sudan isn’t a safe place to be at the moment, and when I finally got to London in 2021, I was relieved, but I was alone, as I was separated from my aunt, who had moved to Italy for a better life.

I was initially housed in specialist housing for asylum seekers, but as soon as I was granted my leave to remain status, I was given very short notice before being evicted. Although it was a good thing to get my immigration status, it meant that life became really difficult; I was in a new country with no knowledge of how to do to things like open a bank account, get work, and support myself.

I was eager to get into work and start my new life in London, but with no help I was left to sleep on the streets. I was sleeping next to McDonald’s in Stratford for over a week. It was really bad, really scary, and everything was so loud. When it gets busy and when people get drunk, all kinds of things happen on the street. It’s impossible to sleep.

One morning, I remember it was 5am, an outreach lady came and asked me why I was homeless. My English wasn’t perfect but I explained as much as I could, and she made some calls to set me up in temporary accommodation while my homeless referral went through with the council. After five days, I had an assessment at Your Place. I came in with another person who was homeless in Stratford, and I remember feeling really good after the assessment, as if I can really start my new life properly.

The experience I had leaving Sudan and then sleeping on the streets in London was really difficult, and I struggled when I first moved into Your Place. The Mental Health Specialist helped me get some treatment, and for a few months I was taking medication for anxiety and depression, but I started being able to manage my health and wellbeing. I started going to college to improve my English, and started working. It helped me feel like I was getting my life back.

Your Place is like a family. You never feel alone. They motivate you to keep learning, keep staying strong and keep moving towards your goals.

Things are looking good for me now. I’ve wanted to continue my education for a while, and in the Autumn I’m going to university to study Health and Social Care. I’m so excited to see where the course takes me, but I know I want to help people in my career; I want to work in care or in a hospital. Last week I moved out of Your Place and into a one-bedroom flat. It’s so good to have my own space and I can really see the progress I’ve made. Your Place have said they’ll be staying in touch for a year after I’ve moved, which is so good to know.

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