When Karen and her 16 year old grandson Josh found themselves homeless earlier this year, life took an unexpected turn.
A dinner lady at the local school, Karen and Josh had been living with family when they were asked to move out. Josh suffers with anxiety and depression and found the change extremely hard to handle. Karen explained: “They tried to offer us accommodation in Manchester but I knew Josh couldn’t cope with that, I had to think about him at every turn.”
After visiting Peterborough City Council, the pair were referred to Cross Keys Homes’ short-stay accommodation team and two weeks later Karen and Josh were accepted into a supported housing scheme in the city.
Karen said: “When they said ‘hostel’ I thought ‘oh my god’ – I had visions of prison. But I must be the luckiest person in the world, because when we arrived it was lovely.
“Shaun and Alison are my guardian angels, every day I was in the office crying about something and they always had time for me. Nobody could ever believe how much they did for me, so much mental support as much as anything else. It’s hard to understand how grateful I am unless you’ve been through it yourself.”
The CKH team is still supporting Karen as she navigates the complicated path of benefit claims. Now Karen is settled in her new home she’s getting ready to come back to volunteer alongside the CKH short-stay accommodation team to help others make it through their experience with a smile on their face.
Karen added: “The best thing they could have done was send me to CKH. I know we were incredibly lucky and everything fell into place pretty quickly. As long as I have breath in my body I’ll never forget what you’ve done.
“That’s why I want to come back as a volunteer, to explain to others –especially kids – that this isn’t forever and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I’m hoping perhaps I might be able to go to college so that I can go on to work in a hostel to help people going through what we’ve just lived through.”