She couldn’t return to her family because of conflict with her mother and serious overcrowding in the home. With no options left, Natalie found herself homeless.
Thankfully, she approached New Horizon Youth Centre, a LandAid-funded project, whose team find suitable housing for young homeless people with very few options and support them to maintain their tenancies.
Natalie is a bright and bubbly 19-year-old, and when she came to New Horizon Youth Centre, she was, despite having nowhere to live, nearing the second year of her apprenticeship with Advice UK. Natalie was working really hard but her low apprenticeship wage made it impossible for her to afford her rent without some help.
Cassie*, the Private Rental Sector Team Manager at New Horizon Youth Centre, helped Natalie to develop a budget plan, and discussed the options that were available to her. Natalie was lucky, and Cassie was able to find her a place in New Horizon’s Project Vista, Homerton, which offers safe, affordable accommodation and allowed Natalie to pay part-rent, alongside her housing benefit.
With support from Cassie, Natalie decided to get a second job in the evening, which helped her get on top of her finances. She was helped to set up a savings account so she could save for a deposit to move into independent, shared accommodation.
But this has not been easy for Natalie, who has struggled to come to terms with her past. With the help of a counsellor at New Horizon, she’s doing really well – her confidence is improving and she is slowly moving on from her past. At work she is excelling, and when her apprenticeship ends, she will become a permanent member of staff at Advice UK.
At home Natalie feels happy and safe in her shared accommodation. She has made friends with her flatmates, is living independently and feels safe and secure. She says: “I was fleeing violence at home and scared – the PRS team have changed my life.”
*The real name of the Private Rental Sector Team Manager has been changed and a model has been used to protect Natalie’s anonymity.