Jodie shares the story of her experience of homelessness, which was caused by relationship breakdown and insecure accommodation, and sheds an important light on how anyone can experience homelessness without realising it...

Jodie was born in Cornwall, and relocated out of the county with her partner to study psychology at university.  

 “Things with the relationship broke down and it got quite toxic. People were saying "you should get away".  I explained that they didn't understand, and said it's not as bad as it sounds... But then there was a particular incident, and it opened my eyes to it. I tried to make things work but the trust was gone.  So, I broke up with my partner and I called my best friend … and I said, "I don't know what I'm going to do, I can't stay here it's not safe for me", and she said, "obviously you're going to come and live with us...”. 

 “Whilst I was living with my best friend, I was sofa surfing. I was able to save some money, so I used that to move back to a different area... but the live-in landlady was absolutely atrocious...I gave her 2 month's notice that I was going to be moving out and she got even worse, very aggressive, and she said, "well you need to be out by the end of the week"… Staying in that house with the landlady wouldn't have been a possibility.

So suddenly, it's, "Oh my gosh, I've got no place and I'm trapped hundreds of miles from everyone and everything that I know."

My family saw what happened and they contacted me, so they drove all the way from Cornwall, they collected me, collected my stuff, and brought me back. I was sleeping on my cousin's sofa for a while, so we contacted St Petrocs.”

What was it like when you moved in to our house? 

“I spent the entire first night crying. I was really scared and overwhelmed.

That was the first time it really hit me that I had been classed as homeless. I didn't realise that you could be homeless but still have a roof over your head.

It all felt like a massive shock. I kept myself to myself for a good 3 or 4 months, just completely overwhelmed by everything but then I slowly started to talk to some of the housemates and settled into my new life.”  

How has the support from St Petrocs made a difference to your life ? 

“I connected with my housing manager quite well because it felt like she could see me if that makes sense. It was like she could clue into how I was feeling as well... Having someone check in, if not daily then every other day or so, and airing any concerns has been really invaluable.

I’m taking part in the Vocational Development Programme and that's been really good because it's doing things I wouldn't have always considered doing workshops with Wildworks theatre company, and coastal walks. That's been fun because I really enjoy photography, it gives me the opportunity to go out and take photographs of places I wouldn't otherwise make the effort to get to, because I don't drive and sometimes I can find public transport really scary and overwhelming. Also, talking to other residents from other houses who I wouldn't have met, and just be like "oh hey you like photography too?" and  that's really cool, making little connections like that...” 

     

Photographs taken by Jodie- whiteislandphotography04.picfair.com 

 What would you like to share with someone reading your story?

"I didn't become homeless because of drugs and alcohol. I don't have issues with drugs or alcohol. I guess I want people to have an open mind and be mindful of other people's situations because you have no idea what they are going through. And to be creative, be creative, be mindful.”

 

Have you got an interesting fact about yourself? 

“I have written 4 complete original novels. They're not published but I have the physical copies of my books. “

 

Listen up!

Wildworks invited our residents to share their experiences in a series of workshops which culminated in an immersive performance. As part of this project, Jodie recorded her experiences along with readings of her creative writing. Please listen below:



With thanks to Wildworks for developing the Seen/Heard project, which is part of the Hello Stranger Project.