Sarah clearly remembers the day she got the call from Boaz with an offer of accommodation. Disbelief, followed by excitement and relief - it was a moment that would stay with her for a long time afterwards.
“I want to thank God that I received that call,” she shared, recalling the conversation she had with a member of the Boaz team. Sarah had been on our waiting list for some time, but things moved very quickly from this point onwards and she was invited to the Boaz office the next day. “In the morning, I had to come to the office. I’m shouting when I was given a house. I didn’t believe it.”
Before she came to Boaz, Sarah experienced 10 months of homelessness after receiving a negative decision on her asylum claim.
“I had a challenge when I was refused by the Home Office. I had nowhere to live. And I had nothing which to do. No finances. I was just confused. And I would think about myself, what am I going to do?”
Government support for someone seeking asylum ends just 21 days after their claim is refused. During this extremely short period of time, people are faced with stress and uncertainty about where they will go next, as well as the panic caused by the threat of eviction.
Sarah described the experience of living in Home Office accommodation during this period of time: “Every day I was living in fear. And whenever I could hear somebody knocking at my door, I asked myself, ‘Are they coming for me? Are they going to chase me out of the house?’ I was in panic,” she told us.
This was not a place where she felt safe. Sarah’s situation was unstable, and following the withdrawal of government housing and financial support, she found herself destitute. That’s why the call from Boaz meant so much.
Sarah remembers the first time she set foot inside the Boaz house: “When I looked at the house, I looked at the ceiling, I looked at the floor, the bed, I say this is God. And I thank God. And I’m rejoicing - I came to a place and know now I am in a home. A peaceful home. A joyful place.”
At Boaz we believe everyone deserves a safe place to call home. Having a home is so much more than just shelter - it’s the foundation from which people can begin to rebuild their lives. This is what has happened for Sarah. Since moving into Boaz accommodation, we’ve seen her begin to thrive.
With the help of Jane, her support worker, Sarah has started volunteering regularly at a community cafe in her local area. She is on the management committee of a local women’s organisation and is also part of their choir.
As a keen gardener, the outdoor spaces at her shared house are filled with things that grow - pea plants, strawberries, flowers and beans to name a few. But this isn’t a talent she keeps to herself - Sarah helps out regularly at a local community allotment.
We asked Sarah what difference Boaz has made to her.
“I want to say, Boaz, you have made my life have meaning, you have given me love. You have given me a shelter, where I live, where I sleep, and I have peace."
Everyone who lives in Boaz accommodation receives holistic, one to one support from a named support worker. This means that the people we work with have someone to help them practically with tasks like form filling, attending medical or legal appointments or accessing other services.
But Boaz support is so much more than this - it’s about having someone who asks how you are, who genuinely cares, who is on your side and wants to see you grow and flourish.
Sarah described the impact of having a safe place to call home and a dedicated support worker, saying, “You wiped away my tears. Nobody could see my tears - I was crying inside me.”