“At around 32 weeks pregnant, my partner started screaming at me. I don’t remember why. I never usually remember the whys any more. Just the whats, and the feelings. I needed help. I knew I had to get to my Mum.”
A shocking one in three women facing homelessness have experienced domestic abuse or violence.
“He’d locked me in the house. My phone had been smashed. An internal door was smashed. And I was a mess, terrified of the impact of this stress on the baby. I needed out.
“I managed to open a downstairs window enough to climb out, and lower myself to the ground. Although it wasn’t high I was conscious of the small drop and terrified of any damage I could cause to myself or the baby if I fell. I then walked 1.2miles to my Mum’s house.
“It was late at night, I just remember the streets were silent and only a couple of cars passed. Every step was agony because of hip pain at the end of my pregnancy. But I needed help. I knew I had to get to my Mum. I needed sleep.”
At least Emily had family to go to nearby. Not everyone has this. Later, she found Oasis Community Housing who helped her get back on her feet.
Our Mum and Baby units, in Gateshead and South London, provide support for pregnant women and for women with babies who are at risk of homelessness.
We provide a loving space where people can develop new skills, rebuild their confidence, learn how to parent and realise their true worth – but, most importantly, have a place they can call home.
The charity’s Empower service also provides one to one and peer support groups to allow people a safe space to open up and find their voice again. The team restores people’s confidence and empowers them to move forwards by helping them to access legal advice and make safety and recovery plans.