Building Confidence: Erna’s Story

Erna became homeless around 6 years ago following a family breakdown. With nowhere to go, she went to the Julian House night shelter.

“I first came across Genesis when I found myself in the awful situation of being homeless. It was a scary time, but coming to Genesis gave me the hope to improve my situation”.

Erna managed to move out of the night shelter and into accommodation. But it was a turbulent time being moved from place to place, before eventually settling in supported housing.

“I stayed in a place called The Haven – it was here I heard about Life Skills”.

Life Skills is a core Genesis project that provides practical and creative workshops. Erna took advantage of the IT drop-in, which focuses on improving computer skills.

“I received help with writing my CV, and not long after I saw an advert for a Christmas temp job in Kitchens. I loved working there but it was only for 5 weeks”.

This was a difficult time for Erna – no longer employed, combined with mobility problems, left her feeling depressed. During this time she continued going to Life Skills.

“The people at Life Skills are very helpful, very friendly with everyone. They gave me encouragement when I needed it, and rebuilt my confidence. They can’t do enough for you”.

Soon after Erna found a job advert for Lakeland: “I half completed the application but was thinking how to word an answer and missed the deadline. The manager called me up to invite me for interview. He said he’d seen enough of the application”.

Three months later Erna is working permanently at Lakeland. She recently had her appraisal and passed with flying colours!

She reflects on how Genesis helped: “They got me back to work! They gave me confidence along with practical skills like CV writing and interview preparation”.

“Homelessness can happen to anyone. I was married with 2 kids! All it takes is a change of circumstance. Luckily I have good friends and a good support network to help me along the way”.

For more stories like this, sign up to our monthly e-newsletter.