Homelessness in London Guest stories Jasmin’s story 8 July 2020 Jasmin*, 39, almost became homeless twice in the last year because of her landlord’s illegal attempts to evict her. Jasmin moved to the UK in 2007 to pursue an internship and then got a job in London as a fashion designer. She was sexually assaulted at work early last year and then lost her job. “I felt violated and forced out of the company. It hit me hard. It also affected my mental health. “Suddenly without an income, I quickly used up all my savings and then applied for universal credit. I could no longer afford my flat, so the council helped me find another property. “At first I was so grateful. But when I arrived, I saw that the flat was unfinished. There was no electricity and maintenance people were coming in and out at all times of the day and night. The ceiling fell through in the bathroom and I discovered that the landlord had never had the right planning permission in the first place.” Jasmin’s frustrations when she tried to complain about the property only grew: “I was told that it was easier to get rid of me than a landlord with a lot of properties. I felt powerless.” she says. I had £1.50, the last bit of money on my Oyster card. I spent it to visit the partner drop-in at Chelsea Methodist Church to speak to a Glass Door caseworker. Jasmin met with caseworker Michelle last summer. Michelle ensured she applied for and subsequently received “EU settled status” so that she would retain her right to support after the UK leaves the EU. Michelle also connected her to LawStop to prevent her from being unlawfully evicted.“I was so relieved after that. But because he couldn’t evict me, my landlord instead threatened to increase the rent to a level I could not afford. “Thanks to Michelle’s connection to the Public Interest Law Centre, this was also ruled unlawful and I am still in the flat now. Michelle has a gift. She is so patient and calm and gave me the reassurance and emotional support I needed during such a difficult time. She gave me courage. Jasmin has spent lockdown volunteering at her local community centre and using her design skills to make masks for a hospital. “I feel like my creativity is gradually coming back. I’ve been working on some design projects as well. But unfortunately my housing situation is still far from ideal. My new housemate has problems of her own and the police have been round to the flat eight times due to her substance misuse. If your home isn’t safe, it impacts everything. I know things will get better when I find a safe place to live. “I never thought all these things would happen to me. I used to enjoy running in Holland Park and oversaw a whole design team in a job I loved. “Not only would I be homeless without Glass Door, but I would have lost my mind. Mental health can really pull you down. And when you’re down, it is so hard to get back up again.” *Jasmin’s name has been changed and a representative photo used to protect her privacy. To provide support to someone like Jasmin and make a long-term difference in the life of someone affected by homelessness, consider supporting our Covid-19 Emergency Appeal. *Jasmin’s name has been changed and a representative photo used to protect her privacy. To provide support to someone like Jasmin and make a long-term difference in the life of someone affected by homelessness, consider supporting our Covid-19 Emergency Appeal.