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I didn’t realise how important a home was until I moved into a hostel

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I lived in one room in a hostel from July 2014 until January this year, with my 11-year-old daughter Cleo. My son Malachi was born while we were living there.

I had lived at home with my mum but she unexpectedly became a guardian to two young family members. The house became overcrowded and we had to move out.

Even though I continued to work as a student support adviser at a university, my lifestyle went downhill when we moved into the hostel.

Although I made sure my daughter ate well, I didn’t care about eating well for myself. For me, it just didn’t matter, even brushing my teeth became a challenge. It was a horrible time. I found it hard just getting out of bed in the morning because I didn’t want to face the day ahead.

Sharing a bathroom with other families was very difficult. Even when I had a bath I couldn’t ever just relax because someone else might need to use the bathroom. Sometimes the bathroom was left in a state by the other families.

Cleo’s school grades suffered while we were living there. The baby wasn’t in a routine yet, he’d wake up for feeds which would then wake her up, so she’d be tired for her day at school.

I didn’t realise how important a home was until I moved into a hostel, because when you go to work and it’s stressful you need somewhere to go home to and chill out. In the hostel I felt that I couldn’t relax, I was constantly worrying about things.

Thanks to help from Shelter I’ve now got my own place – I know it’s my home and I can just go home and breathe.


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Written by Francesca | Posted on 11th March 2015

Francesca, a working mother from south London, gave birth to her baby son, Malachi while she was living in a hostel. With help from Shelter advisers, she was able to leave the hostel and create a better future for her children.

Website: http://stories.shelter.org.uk/my-babys-first-home/

  • Matt

    Great article, so eye opening. Matt – Pack King