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Jo's story

01.11.2017 1006 XX

“I came to England from Poland nine years ago after my mother died. First I went to Great Yarmouth and was selling fish and chips, but the man gave me no contract and paid me just £3 per hour so I left and came to London.

In the beginning I found work in a packing factory, then a recycling factory, then as a cleaner in houses and hotels, and even at the Victoria and Albert museum. I was working all the time and things were good. Then four years ago I was living with a man and every month I was giving him £1000 to pay the rent because I thought he had better English than me but one day a letter came saying we had to move out. I asked the landlord why and he said because we hadn’t paid any money. I told him that my partner had given it to him but he said that he hadn’t paid him anything. I think he’d spent the money on drugs, but honestly I don’t know.

I had my three-year old daughter with me by then but I had to send her to stay with some family so I could stay here and try to get enough money for a new house. I had to live in a hostel and I became very depressed. I missed my daughter and I stupidly started to drink too much. After two months I couldn’t pay the rent there anymore and they said I had to leave. That’s when I went on the street.

Sometimes people would swear at me, sometimes they might give one or two pounds. I felt like a nobody. I never in my life felt that way. I really didn’t know what to do.

The doctor gave me some help for my alcohol and my depression and things are getting better now. I know I was doing stupid things but I know I’m not stupid. I’m applying for work through a homeless charity and I’m excited for that. My one wish would be a house. I know if I have a room or a flat the rest won’t matter. With a normal place and normal people I know I could then find a job.

At least I still have good contact with my daughter. She calls every day and we speak on Skype and Facebook. She’s really a smart girl. And she will be beautiful. I miss her.”

Jo, London

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