Florence became one of London's thousands of hidden homeless after the family she worked for in London moved back to Nigeria, leaving her without a place to stay.

“I came to London from Nigeria many years ago to provide help to a Nigerian family living here. I lived with them so I didn’t have to worry about accommodation. When they left London I was stuck. 

“Luckily there were supportive people in my church. I spent time staying with a friend in Islington and one in Shepherd’s Bush but I didn’t have a place of my own to call home. 

After years of sleeping on friends’ sofas, Florence found herself without a place to stay. 

“My situation became more serious when the lady I was staying with in Shepherd’s Bush died last year and my friend in Islington wanted me to move out. I made an application for help with housing and was referred to SHP’s Homeless Prevention Services in Islington. My support worker Andreea was really helpful. Within three weeks I had found a studio in Haringey which is where I am living now. I finally have my own place! 

“I am really happy to have my own home. I was sleeping on a sofa for years so it feels amazing to have my own bed. I can use the bathroom and kitchen whenever I want. I love to cook and now I have the freedom to do it whenever I want. I like to make soups, stews and Jollof rice. I am so thankful to Andrea for helping me. 

“Now that I have more time I have been going to classes to improve my English. I have also been learning computer skills. I have been granted indefinite leave to remain so I can work now and would like to be a cleaner. The future is looking positive. 

“Even though I have a home now, I am still receiving support from SHP. I speak to Andreea on the phone and she supports me if I need any help with things like buying furniture or if I have any questions about my tenancy. I am really grateful for all the support I’ve received.”