I became homeless after splitting up with my ex-girlfriend last year. We’d been together about seven and a half months but due to her work commitments and my college schedule we hardly saw each other so things just broke down.

I ended up sleeping on a friend’s sofa for a few nights but her mum was really poorly and there were fears with me being in college a lot I might bring germs back into the house. The one night I really felt bad about being there so looked for somewhere else to sleep but I couldn’t find anywhere, so I ended up sleeping behind an old building. It was January so it was very cold. I felt frightened and like I didn’t have anyone in the world on my side. It was really tough but I managed to get through the night.

I don’t have the best relationships with my parents. My mum and I argue over petty things and just can’t live together and for a while my dad struggled with accepting that I’m gay. We used to fight because he believed a girl should date boys and have a certain look like long hair etc. Moving back in with either of them wasn’t something I could do.

I approached the council for help but they told me there was nothing they could do. The person I spoke with that day was actually really rude, so I left crying, thinking how can there not be help for a 19 year old girl struggling with homelessness?

Even through all this, I continued to go to college every day. My tutor knew something wasn’t right by how stressed I was. She could see I was tired and that I clearly hadn’t been able to shower or eat at times. She was so kind to me. She told me to go back to the council and basically fight until they helped me. I kept saying ‘I can’t’ because I felt like I’d lost all my fight but I did go back. When I told them I was homeless and have autism and difficulties communicating they then found me a place to stay.

The B&B I was placed in was horrible. I didn’t feel safe and there were mice in my room. I used to take some of my stuff with me to college but I couldn’t carry it all so had to leave things there. No one really spoke to me at the hostel. It was just another place where I felt alone.

Thankfully my college helped me apply for a place in Ty Pride, which was a new accommodation for LGBTQ+ young people like me. I was in contact with Emma at Llamau and had a move in date planned but after finding those mice again, I called Emma and asked if I could move in earlier and she said yes.

Moving in was nerve racking. I went very quiet and stayed in my new room for the majority of the time. All the staff were lovely and kept checking I was okay. I didn’t know what was going to happen next for me but I did feel like things might be okay now.

Living at Ty Pride has taught me a lot. I’ve learnt how to use a washing machine properly and I’m regularly baking and looking after myself. Things have been hard during lockdown. I’ve missed my friends and family but I get on well with everyone here and the staff have tried so hard to create fun times so lockdown feels easier. We recently held our first Pride event. I’ve never been to Pride before so it was lovely to have so much fun, dressing up, singing and dancing.

I can’t imagine living through lockdown in that old B&B. I struggle with depression and anxiety so my mental health would have gotten worse. I think I’d have either hurt myself badly or I wouldn’t be here today. I would have probably tried to take my own life.

Things in my life are improving. I have good friends around me and my relationships with my mum and dad are better. My dad has said sorry for the things he’s said to me. He was brought up in a different time with different beliefs so I accept that but I’m still holding back a bit for now.

I’m looking forward to starting Level Two of my Health and Social Care & Childcare course in September. My goal in life is to work with young people who have special needs. My brother has special needs so it’s close to my heart.

I still struggle with my anxiety and depression but the good thing about living at Ty Pride is that you always have company and someone to talk to no matter what.

(Please note - images and names may have been changed to protect the identity of the people we support)