Posted April 30, 2014

Day 3 - Julia's Story

Category Uncategorised

Julia’s story is the third in our week of case studies about our clients.

Julia (38) and her three children were left homeless after the death of her husband in 2011.

The couple had been living in Livingston but following his death, she and her children (16, 12 and 14 months) could not afford to continue living in the family home, and had to give it up and move back to Edinburgh where she had family.

Back in 2005, Julia had managed to kick a drug addiction and had moved on with her life. But struggling to cope with all the grief and upheaval, she turned back to drug abuse.

But her relapse didn’t last and realising that she was all her three children had in the world, she decided to turn her life around and deal with her addictions.

After just over a year and having lived in several temporary homeless units, Julia and her family were offered a council house. Despite being happy to finally have a home, she was scared to move in because of the sparseness of the house.

“There was nothing. If it hadn’t been for Fresh Start, we’d have had to live with nothing, with bare walls.” she said.

With help from Fresh Start’s Hit Squad – staff and volunteers helped Julia decorate her own room and her boys’ bedroom – making the house feel more like home and a place they could feel relaxed and comfortable in. Julia also felt more confident about decorating the rest of the flat herself thanks to the skills she’d learned from the Hit Squad volunteers.

“The volunteers were great. They never made me feel out of place. It’s so important to have somewhere safe and secure to stay, for you and your kids,” she said.

As well as support with decorating, Fresh Start also provided Julia with packs for her children’s bedrooms, with lovely bed linen, cushions and throws to put the finishing touches onto the work the Hit Squad had done. Curtains were provided for the whole flat, making a huge difference as she lived on the ground floor and could now feel secure at night. Kitchen items like crockery and pots and pans meant she could give the children some decent home-cooked meals, compared to the takeaways they lived on in their many temporary places during their time being homeless.
Julia said: “It would have taken me over a year to save enough money to purchase all the items myself. If it hadn’t been for Fresh Start I don’t know what we would have done.”