While Y was homeless, she would clean homes that were for private rental, including penthouses, for an estate agent in exchange for staying overnight. This is her story…
I was offered a place on Pepys estate in 2011 after being homeless. Funnily, I met a guy on the bus yesterday who said, “you slept in my garden shed”, which was true. You cannot do that for long. I went to live with someone and it did not work out, it caused a big problem when I had a political meeting in her living room.
I stayed in many places around here; I had a deal with an estate agent who will remain nameless, where I could stay in a place and give it a good clean, sometimes it could be for 4 nights. One really beautiful penthouse over there [points] with a bed that meant you could see views from three windows was my favourite, it was huge, took 4-days to clean!
I had a big battle to get housed by Lewisham homes. Ended up on the Pepys. People are very noisy upstairs. The neighbours put down laminate floor without any insulation so you can hear every noise. I made my place all warm by buying many bits of carpet from all around, the place was so cold, it was built around 1970s.
I love where I live. The council don’t do much these days so I sweep the garden and surrounding area. l love gardening and I help people with their gardens. For me this is just being part of a community.
I have the key to the caretaker’s cupboard, I asked for a hard brush broom and the council got it specially and I keep sweeping the driveway, doing the weeding, and little jobs. I like cleaning and like keeping the building clean.