News People we've supported Gemma's Story Finding yourself homeless when you’re trying so hard to make a life for yourself is so frightening and it’s really draining. My dad raised me and my brother growing up. My mum was an alcoholic and drug user who put her needs before ours. It caused me a lot of trauma, so I never wanted to see her. For a while, my brother and I had to see my mum through a contact centre. I’d cry on the way there because I didn’t want to see her. I always felt sorry for my brother though, because he did. Sometimes she’d turn up drunk or high and they wouldn’t let her in the room, so that caused my brother confusion and upset, which in turn would make me sad. To this day, my mum still tells me I was the ‘mistake child’. Once when my dad dropped me and my brother off at her house, she text him asking that he take me home with him and leave my brother. My dad told her that she had two children, not one, and so took us both home. We weren’t allowed to see her again after that. When my dad remarried, I couldn’t adapt to my step mum being in our lives because I felt so traumatised from my mum’s behaviour. It caused a lot of problems in the house, which my dad couldn’t understand. I always felt like I was treated differently to my step mum’s children. When I was 15, I had a huge row with my step mum and ended up packing my things and leaving. I went to live with a friend, refusing to go back home when Social Services tried to intervene. I stayed with my friend for a year, but then her dad asked me to find another place to live. I was in college at the time, so I asked one of my teachers for help because I had nowhere else to go. Social Services referred me to Llamau where I moved into one of the supported accommodation projects. I remember, it was 7pm when I arrived and everyone who lived at the house was in the kitchen together. I felt really scared and just wanted to go to sleep. Kath, one of the Support Workers there, showed me to my room. She even made my bed up for me because I was so tired. Finding yourself homeless when you’re trying so hard to make a life for yourself is so frightening and it’s really draining. I knew that eventually I’d be okay but it can be hard to keep going when you feel so beaten. Kath sent me a text message the next day to check I’d managed to get to college safely. The supported house was in a new place, so my route had changed. I felt really cared for and for the first time in a long time, I felt safe. I ended up living with Llamau for two years. I had a good experience whilst being supported by Llamau, and it really makes me want to tell people not to judge these types of accommodations. My Support Workers Angela and Katie were amazing. They were always there to listen to me and helped teach me things like how to cook and look after my own space properly. During my last year with Llamau, I worked so hard to prove to my Support Workers that I was ready to live on my own. I was put on the Moving Forward programme and finally moved into my own home. I’ve been here ever since. My relationship with my step mum is so much better these days. We spend quality time together, go shopping and drink a lot of coffee. I think moving out and having the counselling support that Llamau organised for me has helped me to step away from my situation. Now I can look back and see where things went wrong with my step mum. My dad is obviously happier now that we both get on.