When Lisa (not her real name) was referred to us by Beyond the Streets, she was staying in a mixed hostel and was feeling so scared she was sleeping in the wardrobe in her room. For years, she had been running from one traumatic situation to another, including domestic abuse, exploitation, false imprisonment, and working in the sex industry. She had been living out of suitcases for a long time, and when we asked what success would look like for her, she said it would be not feeling she had to run away. The first goals she wanted to work on were to be able to have a conversation without crying, and to be able to walk to the local shops.
As she settled and started to feel safer, Lisa engaged in counselling which she described as gruelling, but it helped her to start processing some of the trauma she had experienced. Soon she was regularly having conversations without crying, and after a few weeks and making short trips out of the house to the shops. She joined an Alpha course in one of our partner churches and went on to get baptised.
After a four months in the house, she finally started to unpack her suitcases, and said she was ready to stop running. We supported her to apply for social housing locally, and after a year in the Hope into Action house, she moved on. It was great to hear from her the morning after she moved out, to say she was already unpacking and settling into her own place.
Reflecting on her time with Hope into Action, Lisa said it had changed her view of Christianity: "It was never once rammed down my throat, but now I want to explore Christianity further, and that’s had ripples through my life. When I arrived, I had so many walls up around me. Hope into Action gave me windows in those walls."