Homelessness in London Guest stories Sharon's story After staying in the shelters during the winter of 2016-2017 and getting support from the casework team, Sharon is now working and off the street. She delivered a heart-felt speech to thank volunteers and supporters at an event held April 2017. Below is an excerpt from the transcript. Her name has been changed to protect her anonymity, but all other details are accurate. I spent a few months this winter in the Glass Door Shelters, first in the Chelsea circuit and then in the Hammersmith & Fulham circuit. I am originally from Zimbabwe and entered the UK in 2000 as a refugee, fleeing Robert Mugabe’s police assaults on white landowners. A few years ago, my relationship with my husband broke down, and I found myself without family connections and struggling to make ends meet. Thanks to a tip from one of the sisters at the Missionaries of Charity, I visited the Glass Door women’s drop in on a Wednesday afternoon. Here, I met other women struggling to make ends meet and Sarah and Anna from Glass Door. My timing was lucky: The shelters were about to open, and I managed to secure a spot. The time in the shelters, with the support from caseworkers, allowed me a chance to get my feet underneath me. At Glass Door, I feel that everyone does their best to support us while we find ways to help ourselves. I have been encouraged to make decisions for myself. I’ve been left to follow up and explore options in my own way and in my own time, which has been a very empowering experience for me. I used to feel I was banging my head against a brick wall. Thanks to the support I received, I now feel that the way forward has been made clear. Sarah helped me apply for a self-employment license, which has allowed me to expand the kind of work I can take as a cleaner. She also helped me access a debt-relief service to help me get a handle on my debt. After that, I found my confidence grew, and the work started to come in. Everyone worked with me to allow me to stay in the shelter, sometimes allowing me to come in late if I needed to go across town after a job, and they allowed me the space to save up a bit and get back on my feet. Eventually, I found a place to live through a property guardian scheme, where I now look after empty properties. I’m really conscious now not to overextend myself and I stay within a lean budget. I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who participated in whatever capacity, to helping me. I’ve had a huge learning curve, and I’ve managed to turn this homeless experience around. Glass Door volunteers and staff helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am bearing fruit and I just wanted to say "thank you". To give shelter and support to someone like Sharon and make a long-term difference in the life of someone experiencing homelessness, consider making a donation.