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"Coming to HARP is the best thing I ever did"

After escaping abusive relationships and overcoming alcohol addiction, Vicky came to HARP and has been staying at our single gender hostel, White Heather House. She’s now ready to move into her own home.

“Alcohol blurs your vision for everything. Nothing is achievable. Nothing is possible. And you just live day to day, waking up for the drink. I’d been in abusive relationships, including 14-years of physical violence. I drank to numb the pain – if I was drunk it didn’t hurt so much when he hit me.

“I stopped drinking after my children got put into foster care. I didn’t know how to cope with losing them but I decided I needed to stop for myself.”

When Vicky came to HARP she was already sober but had been sofa-surfing, going from one friend’s sofa to another and sometimes staying with family. Then she found herself without anywhere to go.

“I was really nervous at first because you hear negative stories about hostels but staying at HARP is not what I expected. When I found out I’d be staying in all-female accommodation, it made me feel even more at ease.”

The support of the staff and the other women at White Heather House has made all the difference to Vicky. She’s now attending college and has hopes of becoming a counsellor. She told us:

“I now realise that anything is possible. I would never have had the confidence to go to college before but we all encourage each other to do the best that we can here.

“I’m getting ready to leave and am in the process of looking for a new home. Social services have even said the children can come home to me as soon as I have suitable accommodation. If you’ve been homeless you all get tarred with the same brush but people from all walks of life come through here. I just want someone out there to think ‘give that girl a break!’ Sometimes it gets me down, and then I tell myself to be strong and keep going.”

Vicky says that her stay at White Heather House has been one of the best times of her life, saying: “I’ve made life-long friends and the staff have been absolutely brilliant - especially Lauren, my key worker, and Andrew, the resettlement team leader.

“To anyone experiencing homelessness, I say take the step and come to HARP. It’s the best thing I ever did.”

UPDATE: Good news! Since sharing her story with us, Vicky has now moved into her own home after 18 months at White Heather House. She was able to spend Christmas 2019 with her children in her new house.

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