‘I could have ended up on the streets’

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An Ilkeston woman who was on the verge of being homeless said she didn’t know where she would be if she wasn’t helped by a housing association.

Denise Bowles, 32, who will attend a service at Derby Cathedral at the weekend to mark Homeless Sunday, was offered somewhere to live by Derventio Housing in Ilkeston over three years ago.

She had returned from living abroad and had been staying on friends’ sofas.

She said: “I had my own place but had a break down. So when I left the flat I went abroad. When I came back I was staying on friends’ sofas. I went to one housing association but things didn’t work out and I got kicked out. I was left with nowhere to go. Luckily a friend let me stay at theirs and then I finally got myself sorted with Derventio.”

After speaking to someone from the association she was offered a place to live and has been with them ever since.

She said: “They have been amazing. It has taken a while for my confidence to come back but now I volunteer on a farm and in their kitchen. I have been doing that for two years and love it. They are one of the best housing associations I have ever been with and they are always there for you.”

More than 200 people will attend Derby Cathedral to mark Homeless Sunday, including Councillor Kewal Singh Atwal, the Mayor of Erewash.

It will be the first time Denise has attended the service and she has been asked to read a prayer.

She said: “I don’t know where I would be now if it wasn’t for them. I felt I had nowhere to go.”

Homeless Sunday is a national event organised by Housing Justice.

The service at Derby Cathedral will take place on Sunday 18th January at 10.45am. Everyone is welcome to attend, and free refreshments will be available afterwards.