Rosie, now 24 years old, is living the way she chooses, independently in her own flat. With support of her local End Youth Homelessness charity, she is looking forward to a brighter future. But this wasn’t always the case.
Growing up, Rosie’s family refused to accept her gender identity. So, at the age of 18, she left home and moved across the country. But, when she got to university, she felt more alone than ever.
At the time, she feared what her peers’ reaction would be to her transition, so she hid from them. Even going as far as changing into women’s clothes in an alleyway to avoid anyone finding out.
Halfway through her degree, Rosie couldn’t take it any longer and decided to withdraw from her course and move out of university accommodation.
Over the next few years, Rosie moved around a lot. She tried to move back in with a family member, but was subject to physical and verbal abuse as they refused to respect her gender identity.
She was left with no choice but to sofa surf and live in her car for six months, until a friend told her about her local EYH charity, The Benjamin Foundation: “I was living a very unhealthy life and I did not feel safe. I did what I could. I applied and got a room at The Benjamin Foundation. It saved my life as I would still be living in my car if it wasn’t for the service,” she says.
Rosie was given temporary safe accommodation, where she was free to be herself. It wasn’t long before Rosie wanted to find a home of her own, something the EYH Housing Fund was able to help with. Rosie worked with her Tenancy Support Worker to secure a home, set up her bills and create a budget plan. The grant from the Housing Fund funded the essentials needed to fill her empty home.
Rosie’s journey has been incredibly hard but she has come such a long way over the last few years. She is now applying for jobs and attending interviews, and is looking ahead to a positive future in beauty therapy.
She says: “I finally feel that, although life is still a struggle, my mental health is improving and the support I’ve received has been good for me.”