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March 01 2021
My Journey Home: Hannah Green spoke to the Pavement trainee reporters about how she’s written about her experience of homelessness. © Rich Maw at Infocus Photographic, Scarborough My Journey Home: Hannah Green spoke to the Pavement trainee reporters about how she’s written about her experience of homelessness. © Rich Maw at Infocus Photographic, Scarborough

Author Hannah Green discusses writing and homelessness with our trainee reporters, Paul Atherton, Lee Foxhall, Charlie Radbourne, Sarka, Sheryle Thomas & trainer Giselle Green

Q: How did you start off?  
I literally wrote down everything and sent it to the editor and asked what angle should I be going from. Then we narrowed it down and ended up focusing on PTSD and homelessness.  

Q: Do you plan what you're going to write before you start?
I don’t really make a plan. I love surfing, so I'll go for a surf and I’ll get back and have some inspiration. Or sometimes I'll see a tweet and think, ‘I have to write about that’.  

Q: Charlie: Why do you go surfing?  
I got signed up to this surf therapy course and it was meant to be six weeks. Basically I just fell in love with it. It was quite dangerous at times. I think I thrived on that adrenaline.

Q: Lee: Before writing about what others have gone through, would you recommend you write about your life to take it all in again and move forward?
That’s a very personal decision. For me it helped, it was very therapeutic to write it all down and see it all laid out and think, "shit I’ve survived that." But if there's stuff in there you haven’t dealt with and you write it down, it might trigger things and make you feel worse. 

Q: You’ve written a book about your life, My Journey Home, which is being published in April. How did that come about?
The week before lockdown I was with my friends and I joked that if there was a lockdown I would write a book. Then lockdown happened, so I just started writing.

Q: Paul: What made you decide to go with that particular publisher?
I pitched to so many publishers. Two came back to me. I went with the one I went with because they specialise in mental health type stuff and were more specialised. I also won a grant from a charity, a scheme for young people who had ideas. [Hannah’s grant covered the publishing costs]

Q: How do you feel about the book coming out?
It’s terrifying, I won't lie. But it has the potential to help people, which is why I’ve done it.

Q: Sheryle: Were there barriers to accessing help being female when you were homeless or was it easier as a woman to get support?
For me it made things harder. I was in this supported lodging scheme where you stay in a volunteer’s house longer term. The woman I was staying with took in exchange students who were all males of similar age to me which was a massive issue. I was told if I left, I would be making myself intentionally homeless.

Q: Sarka: Is there anything you learned that made it easier?
When I was experiencing homelessness, I avoided men as much as possible. What would’ve helped me was having a hostel just for women: single sex accommodation where I knew there were no men. That should be a thing everywhere, but it’s not.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would have told myself to keep myself to myself more, and not get involved in dodgy things with other people. I would have just told myself it's not going to be like this forever and there's a way out of it. So just hang in there. 

Q: You’ve been writing a report for the Centre for Homelessness Impact about access to healthcare. What were the top issues that people had?
One was around person-centred, trauma-informed care and services being led by the person rather than them being told they must do this and that. If someone says to me you have to do this, my brain goes crazy and I'm like no, that’s not happening. 

  • My Journey Home demonstrates the power of the sea, and a good cup of tea.
  • In 2019 Hannah Green was living in a hostel, now her autobiography is being published in April. Follow Hannah on Twitter @h_green21
  • Hannah talks about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She was helped by surf therapy. Also see and our trauma guide on p22 – 23