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When I was 22, my situation was really difficult, I had experienced domestic violence and abuse from my immediate family mainly due to cultural and religious expectations from them. Because of this I was in and out of school and unable to obtain any qualifications.

Before this, when I was 14 years old I was forced to go to Yemen to live with my father. He would keep me indoors constantly and I developed severe anxiety, depression and OCD. When I came back to London I fled my family home on numerous occasions. I would sleep on buses or sofa surf, anything to keep me out of there.

I was eventually linked up with New Horizon and I was then placed into their hostel; H1824. NHYC advocated on my behalf with the council and I was told I was priority need when I completed my housing application. Once this was sorted, I was connected to a specialist Solace domestic violence worker and Youth Legal Support services solicitor. I was then referred to a specialist housing project that would understand my situation. That was great as the hostel is located in an area that I wanted and there are support staff on site this week. I now feel safer and like I can start thinking about my future.

*Zara's name has been changed for safeguarding reasons.

We give young people, like Zara, the support they need to improve their wellbeing, change their economic circumstances and find somewhere that they can call home. If you share our mission of giving potential a home and want to get involved, you can read more about our work or make a donation


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