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15 July 2019

Georgie, 32, stayed in the Glass Door night shelters in the winter of 2018 - 2019 while starting work at a London-based tech company. She was broke and needed to save enough to afford a deposit. She now rents a flat in East London and performs as a violinist while studying financial market trading. Georgie shares her story in her own words.

Some people in the shelter would say: 'It’s a bit atypical that you’re here, what are you doing here?' Yes, I studied at university but I made mistakes. I had no money and had to start again. 

When I was 21, I moved from Romania to Austria to pursue my music degree in Vienna. I got my musical talent from my mother⁠—she was a singer⁠—and I studied the violin since I was seven years old. 

I travelled all around Europe and Asia playing the violin. Without the violin, I wouldn’t have crossed the borders of Romania.

I had great jobs in Austria as a violinist, but I’ve always been independent⁠—I wanted to do my own musical project. I took out a loan to fund my concerts and I became a businesswoman. I was selling tickets on the streets, playing my concerts, managing my orchestra and the repertoire. I thought I could do it all.

Unable to cope

To be self-employed takes a lot of money and nerves.

I was exhausted. I arrived in a place where I was depressed and felt like there was no way out.

I had zero money, and I was becoming more in debt. I stayed for months in bed doing nothing. With time I started to study and learn about trading in financial markets, as my father had told me about them when I was younger. I’ve always been impulsive, and so I enjoyed being able to take risks, knowing that in minutes you can make ten times what you risk.

When I started to get into it, I fell in love with it and it gave me a new lease of life.

Opportunity in London

After searching, I found a job in London which would allow me to balance my new passion for trading and playing the violin. That was the reason I came to the UK. It sounds crazy, and I knew there’d be challenging months ahead. But I knew when I’d get a place, I could build step-by-step what I needed to do.

I googled ‘place to sleep for homeless’.

I don’t know if Glass Door was the first result, but the website was clear about how to get help. It showed me what you can do if you have no other solution.

I emailed Glass Door asking for help: “Who can help me, because I’m broke, my money has all gone.”

Glass Door reacted quickly. I got the answer from Caroline [who managed the shelter waiting list] saying I could come to the shelter.

It felt like a sign.  I wasn't alone with nobody caring about me.

In November 2018 I came to the Hammersmith and Fulham night shelter. The first month was difficult. Everything for me was a lesson. It helped me to become much less judgemental of people in this situation; everyone has the right to not sleep outside.

When I had a fever, Will [Glass Door's night shelter manager] took me to the hospital. I couldn’t even stand and he helped me. I wasn’t ignored.

The shelters were not the ideal place, but at least I had a warm meal, and I no longer had to panic about food. 

I felt somehow like I was in a family.

Georgie came to the King's Road community drop in for lunch while she was working.

Back on track

In January, when my first pay check came in, I said goodbye to Will and he told me: ‘Georgiana, I don’t want to see you anymore!’ with a smile.

I am thankful to everyone who helped me. I want to help others as I’ve already been helped. One day I’d like to volunteer at the night shelter. The people were great, I felt loved there every time. 

Now, I want to use my knowledge in finance to fund my music career. When I have the violin, I don’t need anything else. It’s great to make people smile and change their state. You open them through music. My mission is to take as much as possible from my violin and show it to the world.

And they feel better for the rest of the day – hopefully. Wherever I play, I want to make people inspired and make their souls richer.

Update 19/07/19: Here's Georgie performing at the women's group as a volunteer.

To give shelter and support to someone like Georgie and make a long-term difference in the life of someone experiencing homelessness, consider making a donation