I was heading into central London to meet a friend yesterday and as I often do popped a few warm packs of socks, gloves and hats in my rucksack.
Passing Euston I bumped into a homeless lady who I have connected with many times over the last year or so. Katarina's story is heartbreaking as she found herself homeless after her partner who she had been staying with died from a heart attack. With nowhere to stay, she eventually felt she had outstayed her welcome on friends sofas and with a large dog to take care of ended up on the streets of London. She used to sit outside a supermarket near Warren Street station but she has had to move form there due to some unwanted attention from a guy.
I was shocked and saddened to hear that she was recently attacked by a large male on the street near to where she was sitting. Thankfully her beautiful and usually friendly but loyal large dog protected her from this man who did not appear to be mentally stable. She actually said to me thank goodness he attacked her rather than a passer by who did not have a dog to protect them. He just happened to pick on her but she said it could have been anyone and she commented on there being many bad and crazy people out there ! The attack was caught on CCTV and the police wanted her to press charges. This was not really an option for her as she feels too vulnerable on the street and fears repercussions.
This is the reality of life on the streets, a dangerous place for anyone, let alone a lone female. Thank goodness she has the protection of a loyal four legged friend, unfortunately a double edged sword as this makes being re-housed even more difficult but he is her best friend, family and life saver.
Katarina feels hopeful that she will gain employment in the future. Someone gave her a book on Java computer programming and she is teaching herself to write programs. An intelligent lady who has fallen on hard times, very hard times. A time of loss and if anything one would have expected some sort of support to help her with her grief and loss but no, this poor lady ended up on the streets at her time of great need just turfed out and homeless ! Just her and her loyal four legged friend who she will understandably never part from.