After growing up in a loving home, Ruth’s family were torn apart when her absent dad returned and sold their home. With No Recourse to Public Funds, her mum was unable to get the help they needed. Forced to sleep rough, she was eventually referred to Depaul. She is now pursuing her dream of doing a PHD.

“Growing up I had seven siblings and my mum was a single parent. My Dad was in and out so he wasn’t really staying in the house. We were just in his home. Then my dad came and said he was selling the house. That was quite a shock. My mum was always on No Recourse to Public Funds, so she could work, and had permanent status in the UK, but we couldn’t get benefits. When we got the letter from my dad, we were like what are we supposed to do? We can’t afford a house.

“I contacted the council and my caseworker said they didn’t want to give me false hope as they couldn’t house me. To know that the council wasn’t willing to help, just felt like I was a nobody. It meant I had to sleep rough for a few days. It was lonely. It was just so dark, and cold. That’s when I got in touch with Depaul.

Ruth was referred to Hotel 1824, our pan-London, youth- specific emergency accommodation service for young people at risk of, or experiencing rough sleeping.

“I got given my own room with an actual bed. Everything was so clean. I could organise all my stuff. I prepared all my toiletries. I got all my clothes out. I just felt like I could settle in. It felt too good to be true. But it was the reality I stepped into, because of Depaul.

“Everyone was so joyful, and so hopeful. They asked what I wanted to do? And I started to remember what I desired to do. I had an idea whilst being here to apply for a PHD. Having this room, felt like having an office. I was able to study in here, and do my applications. I even had my interviews with Oxford and Cambridge in this room. I could not do that on the streets. I don’t think I’d even have the drive to do that.

“I’ve now been accepted for Cambridge, and am on the waiting list for Oxford. It’s so surreal for me. I kept the staff up-to-date along the journey and they were always so excited, it was a nice environment to know they cared.

As she waits to start her PHD, Depaul have supported Ruth to move to our Peer-Led Housing, long-term affordable homes for young people with low support needs.

“My needs have been met by Depaul in different ways- food, housing, and education and now moving in to a place I can call my own! I don’t know how I would have done it without the support and help, and people that genuinely care.

Everything really stems from being at Depaul.”