When her brother was diagnosed with cancer, Tara* had a lot to contend with, especially for someone just 20 years old. She felt that she should be close to her family and so moved back home.

However, her mum couldn’t cope with looking after Tara and her brother, and so asked Tara to leave. She found herself sleeping on friends’ sofas, not knowing where else to go and with no stability in her life. Tara had enjoyed working but wasn’t able to continue doing so with no permanent address. She had no money and no direction.

It is almost impossible for a young person in Tara’s position to privately rent. Not only would she have to earn enough to afford the rent, she would have to save for a deposit and have a guarantor. Young people find the system confusing and the prospect of living independently very daunting.

It was when she applied for Universal Credit, that Tara was told about Step by Step. We interviewed her to assess her needs and how we could best help. We were able to offer her a place in shared accommodation just two days later.

Tara was very anxious when she first moved in and kept to herself. Her Step Worker reassured her and was soon able to bring Tara out of her shell. Tara enjoyed having the support, knowing that there was always someone she could turn to for advice, mentoring or just a friendly chat.

Tara gained confidence, made new friends and became more comfortable within herself. She had the stability she needed and was delighted to be able to start working again.

Tara told us that if it were not for Step by Step, she would still be sleeping on friends’ sofas with no idea what to do next. Now she is hoping to soon achieve independent living, with the chances in life that most young people take for granted.

*Not her real name

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