A WOMAN has told how she has beaten homelessness thanks to the dedication of Southend’s homeless charity, in a bid to boost donations.

The charity, Harp, has launched its Christmas appeal as December begins and temperatures continue to plummet for those living on the streets.

At Christmas, all of Harp’s 208 residents, who might otherwise be sleeping rough, as well as those still sleeping on the streets are offered a meal and a Christmas present.

One of those last year was Marie, who came to Harp after being suddenly evicted by her landlord with no notice and nowhere else to go.

Having previously been homeless, Marie thought that it was all behind her, so was was shocked to find herself desperately needing Harp’s service again.

“When I was suddenly evicted, I felt so sick and I was physically shaking. I hadn’t felt fear like it since being in recovery, and just didn’t know what to do.”

Harp were able to provide accommodation within 24 hours, and with the charity’s help Marie has been able to stay sober, overcome mental health challenges, go to college and volunteer.

She said: “I want people to know that there’s a way out, even for people who aren’t ready to make a change yet.

“You can achieve, even if you’re homeless. I have done it with the support of Harp. Without Harp’s support I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Marie has turned her life around and moved into her own flat, marking an important milestone in her journey away from homelessness.

She’s done it all with Harp’s help, which has only been made possible by the support and donations the charity receive from the community.

And Harp is hoping the public can band together once again.

Last December alone the charity provided around 5,300 meals, and gave out 251 emergency food packs and 31 food parcels. To make a donation visit www.harpsouthend.org.uk/christmas-appeal-2019 or donate £10 by texting the word XMAS to 70450 (texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message)