Lorraine, 21

This is Lorraine’s story, told in her own words:

(You may find the contents of this story upsetting.)

“I have been homeless for four-and-a-half years. My mum moved abroad and left me with £200. It was a happy childhood, don’t get me wrong. Apart from when I was four, I stopped talking for two years because I lost one of my triplet brothers. I got talking again, and then I lost my other brother. I love my dad, but he became a heroin addict when I was 13, and now I can’t be around that.

Since I was homeless, I have never been on my own. I was advised to come to Central London to sleep on the street. I met one of my brothers, who is homeless as well, so I stayed with him one night and then I made friends. And gradually my little family built up. I met my boyfriend on the Strand, getting free food. We’ve been together for three months.


It’s hard on the street.I was in cars, squats, hutches. [Lorraine’s former sleeping site is now used by a homeless couple, as shown in the photograph.] I’ve slept out on the street too. It’s cold, miserable. No one gives you the time of day. You have to think of being a strong independent woman, otherwise the streets will eat you alive.

My council won’t house me any more. I got kicked out of so many hostels for not paying my rent, fighting with people. Just not listening to the rules and regulations. I don’t like being told what to do. I can’t live on my own because I feel insecure and confined, and it’s really lonely. I’ve got depression, schizophrenia and ADHD. I’ve needed help from services with housing, and more help looking after myself personally and mentally. Because if you have got mental issues and you are on the streets it will make it ten times worse without no medication. You have to be careful. That’s why I like to come to places like Crisis. I like being around my boyfriend and other people. I’ve got a bed now at my boyfriend’s mate’s.

Christmas is a very upsetting time of year, not being around my nieces and nephews and sisters. Last year was really hard. It was the first year without my son, as he died in a car crash.

But this year it was wicked. I loved Christmas this year. I was with the man of my life, with my mates, and I am in Crisis so I am really happy. I’ve had my hair done. It was down to my shoulders and now it is into a bob and front fringe. I painted my boyfriend a picture. My boyfriend has been doing puzzles, he loves puzzles and I’ve been doing quiz books. There’s everything in Crisis. It gives you hope and things to think about for the future. It just helps your head a little bit more. On the mental side, it makes you happy that there are good people out there willing to help you. People go out of their way on Christmas to help us out. You just have to be willing to help yourself, that’s what it is.”

(All material on this page is copyright of Georgina Cranston. Text editing by Sarah Carrington.)

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