Molly*, who is 19 years old, was referred to us for support with life skills. Molly had no drug or alcohol issues, but had received minimal education due to issues at home which impacted her ability to attend school. She was an intelligent young woman, who was desperate to secure a job. After being referred to Breathing Space Lancashire, it became clear that Molly had no stable housing in place, and it transpired that Molly had been sofa surfing since she was 14 due to tensions at home.
Molly wanted to find accommodation close to her family home, as she cared for various members of her family and helped them on an everyday basis. One of Molly’s siblings had a severe disability, and Molly’s mother had a brain injury as the result of suffering a fall several years ago. Her mother’s thought process, capacity to understand things fully and her memory had been severely affected by her fall, which meant she needed daily assistance.
Molly’s father had an alcohol problem which often caused him to become violent, usually when he was under the influence of alcohol. Molly was often the target of his violence, and sometimes retaliated; after the police were called out to an altercation at Molly’s family home, she was referred to us.
During her initial assessment, Molly was emotional. She explained that she was tired of her way of living, and didn’t want her relationship with her family to suffer any further. Molly loved her family a great deal but felt forced to sofa surf to protect her relationship with her family, and to get a good night’s sleep. Molly had no bed in her family home, despite the fact that she financially supported them and acted as a carer for both her mother and sister. She wanted to find somewhere to live, and to find meaningful employment.
Molly had been dismissed from several jobs in the past, as she had struggled with both travelling the long distances to her job, and had also to balance her job and caring responsibilities. Molly did have a scooter which she used to travel to and from work, however she sold her scooter to give the money to her parents, which they then put towards a deposit for a house. Despite financially contributing to their deposit, Molly was not given a bed in their home, and was forced to continue to sofa surf. Molly didn’t think that she was entitled to any welfare support, and with no income or fixed address, it became difficult for her to look after herself. She struggled to eat healthily, and found it difficult to keep track of appointments.
Molly initially was referred to Nightsafe in Blackburn, who were able to provide her with a room in the emergency shelter whilst she waited for accommodation in Darwen. Molly was supported in her application for Universal Credit, and had a support worker to help her search for work and accompany her to job centre appointments. Support workers also liaised with Molly’s family to help them with applications for benefits, and refer them to the Transforming Lives panel to access additional support for Molly’s mother and sibling, to take the pressure off Molly.
Molly was able to move into supported accommodation for young people in Darwen, where she had a room of her own and was able to receive one-to-one support to improve her emotional wellbeing and self esteem. Having stable accommodation enabled Molly to actively look for employment, and improve her self care skills by being able to cook for herself and regularly access washing facilities. Molly didn’t have to worry about finding a place to sleep anymore, and felt much happier, and able to look forward to the future.