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“I want to help those who are unable to escape homelessness, as I have managed to do myself

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“When I first volunteered with Crisis at Christmas, I happened to mention that my birthday falls on Boxing Day. The evening shift team took the time to create a handmade card and everyone sang Happy Birthday to me. It made me feel loved and valued. Since then, I have never missed a year volunteering with Crisis. They have always encouraged me to go further, and now I hold a senior volunteer position, overseeing shifts.”

Andrea, 35, has completed a degree in early childhood studies. She is also involved with Crisis as a peer researcher, studying systemic racism and its connection to homelessness. Additionally, she actively advocates and organizes for various causes, including renters’ rights and anti-racism.

“I have successfully prevented three evictions with the Wandsworth Renters group. I often serve as a steward in numerous marches, particularly those supporting the NHS. My grandmother and mother came to this country as nurses during the Windrush generation.”

For years, Andrea has fought for a better future for herself and her daughter, who was born shortly after Andrea’s mother was diagnosed with cancer.

“My father passed away when I was four, so my mother became the most important person in my life. Witnessing her on the operating table was a terrifying experience. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and my doctor wrote to the council, requesting them not to evict us as I was trying to improve our lives. At the age of 18, right after giving birth to my daughter, I had to take care of my sister as well. It became overwhelming, and I turned to drinking, which only made things worse.”

Pay Attention:   Her husband left her with nothing. But once he returned, he did not expect what came next

“We were placed in a hotel in East Grinstead, and I had to take my child to Battersea every day for school. It was a cramped one-bedroom space with no room for her to play and no nearby parks. I had to decide whether to constantly move her with me or let her stay with my mom for the stability she needed. Either way, she suffered because she didn’t have me around. It was an endless nightmare.”

Andrea also experienced domestic violence and sexual assault.

“I eventually received Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and attended Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, which greatly helped me. I started making gradual improvements in my life and wanted to extend that support to others. I began volunteering in children’s mental health and later joined a local charity focused on homelessness.”

“Currently, the most important thing for me is being present in my daughter’s life. I hope she achieves all her dreams, such as pursuing acting and studying in America. She truly deserves it; she’s an incredible individual.”

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Birminghamgist Staff is a News Reporter, making waves in the UK with insightful and Engaging reporting.

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