Rachel's Story

Rachel's Story

Rachel and her husband have three children, aged 12, five and a year and a half. For 16 months they were homeless and lived in one room of a hotel.

“We bought an apartment over ten years ago. It was only a one bedroom so when we had my first daughter we stayed there until she was five but then tried to find somewhere bigger. The recession had hit so we weren’t able to sell, we tried renting but it just became so hard trying to keep up with rent and paying our mortgage.”


Now with two children, Rachel’s apartment was repossessed on New Years Eve and the family found themselves homeless, living in a hotel room for 16 months.


“It was very hard. My husband had to get up for work and try have normal day, knowing that we were all still in one room. We were living out of black bags, as we had no wardrobes to put the clothes. There was no facilities to cook, we couldn’t have microwave, we just had a kettle and that was it. I had to bring my little girl back to that hotel room from the hospital after she was born so it was five of us then. I had to wash her bottles in the bathroom sink as we couldn’t have a steriliser in the room. I couldn’t prepare meals for her.”

However everything changed for Rachel and her family when they found a house with the support of Simon Community.


“We were so overjoyed. I think we cried for about three days, we just didn’t think it was true, that it was real! The feeling of knowing that we don’t have to move again, I think that was the best part of it. We were in seven different places, for seven Christmases moving the kids constantly to different houses or back to the apartment just trying to keep up with the bills. I think it was toughest on my eldest daughter, she had been uprooted so many times. Where we are now she has her own privacy, she’s really confident and is doing wonderfully in school. You can see a big difference in her. Knowing that we wouldn’t have to uproot the kids again, knowing that we weren’t going to be moving around. The feeling of being here now and that’s it, we don’t have to move again, this is our home.


“The Simon Community were a brilliant support. Our keyworker from the Support to Live Independently team visited us for the first few months once a week or so, just to check in and make sure were settling in okay. He helped us set the place up and made sure we had everything we needed. He got us funding for new wardrobes and a gate for the front garden for the kids as we are on a main road. He was a great help, I have to say and he still checks in with us to see how we are managing."


“Homelessness really can happen to anyone. It could happen to anybody tomorrow. It’s very bad at the minute and it’s getting worse but every little bit helps. When you’re homeless and have nowhere to go, it’s great to feel that you have have support and there are people out there to help you. It makes you feel a little bit better, you don’t feel as if you’re on your own in the world.


“We are so excited for Christmas. My son asks us about it every night as we are putting him to bed and we talk about all our plans. I want to make it really special this year for the kids because last year we were in the hotel, I’ve already started decorating the house! This is going to be our first Christmas in our home and it’s great knowing that we don’t have to move again. Next year it’s going to be here, the year after and every Christmas after that. I can’t wait to just get back to what matters, just to be a family and live our lives.”


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