Alex & Anna’s story
Alex and Anna are 17 and 19 years old. They came to Scotland nine months ago to work in the Scottish Borders. A relative had helped them to secure a job working in a hotel, and they were very excited to make a life for themselves.
Unfortunately, they discovered after a short period of time that their relative had serous alcohol issues which made living and working with him very difficult. Anna then discovered that she was pregnant, so they both decided that for the safety of their unborn child, they should leave the hotel and try and find accommodation in Edinburgh.
When they arrived in Edinburgh they were not entitled housing and had to wait for two weeks before seeing an adviser to discuss benefits. Alex and Anna were directed to sleep in churches, which are generally used in the winter as emergency accommodation to keep rough sleepers out of the cold. Anna was getting a lot of unwanted attention, so after a few nights they decided to take their chances and sleep on the streets.
It was bitterly cold and terrifying, as they tried to find quiet corners in parks, by the canal and under bridges, where they could be as safe as possible, stay dry and attempt to get some rest. They slept rough for over a week, until they were told about The Rock Trust and they came to speak with one of our duty Support Workers.
The Rock Trust Support Worker immediately called the Edinburgh emergency housing line and one night’s accommodation was found. Alex and Anna were given a meal at The Rock Trust’s drop in service, access to a shower, laundry facilities and a food parcel.
The next day they discussed returning home, but both Alex and Anna wanted to stay in Edinburgh. That evening they were initially refused accommodation for another night, until The Rock Trust worker stressed the dangers of a pregnant teenage women spending another night sleeping rough, and one last night in a B&B was agreed. The Rock Trust then called a local homeless hostel that takes couples and, because of the excellent working relationship that The Rock Trust staff have and with the hostel, and the high level of support that The Rock Trust provide, the hostel agreed to allow Alex and Anna to stay .
Over the next two months Anna and Alex, with the support from their Rock Trust support workers, secured benefits for Anna, employment for Alex and a temporary flat for them to live until permanent accommodation was found.
Living on the street is a terrifying, dangerous and extremely stressful way of life. Sleeping rough, coupled with being 6 months pregnant and then having to tackle the confiding and daunting minefield of benefits and housing increases these very real feelings ten fold. We are delighted that Alex and Anna are now safe, secure and looking forward to the birth of their baby.