From homeless to Houses of Parliament
Two years ago Dana Hogan was homeless and now she’s just had a VIP tour of the Houses of Parliament and lunch with her local MP.
Dana has turned her life around since moving into a flat in Oasis House, our purpose-built development for homeless men and women in Northampton.
Her journey includes welcoming Northampton South MP Andrew Lewer into her home when he visited Oasis House to find out about our proposals to provide more accommodation at the flagship development which offers a safe and stable environment for homeless people and an opportunity for a fresh start.
Following his visit the MP invited Dana to Westminster, a visit she describes as “a fantastic day; I feel very privileged.”
Dana, who was accompanied by Nicola Scott, intensive housing management officer at Oasis House, said: “I’m not really into politics but I love history so going round the Houses of Parliament, seeing the beautiful building and the paintings and soaking up the history was wonderful.
“We had a private tour from Art Conaghan, head of Andrew’s office and his knowledge was so amazing he could have been a tour guide. Afterwards we had lunch with Andrew in the Members’ restaurant. After going round the beautiful building that was less impressive with lunch on trays but it was still very nice!”
Andrew Lewer said: “It was a pleasure to invite Dana down to Westminster. She was kind enough to share part of her life and experience with me when I visited Oasis House, so I thought it would be nice for her to visit my place of work and share a little part of what her MP does.”
He added: “Dana is a great example of courage, determination and hope. Midland Heart, NAASH, and The Hope Centre have all played an important part in giving Dana the tools and confidence to forge a new and positive chapter in her life.”
Dana arrived at Oasis House in December 2017 after becoming homeless following years of violent relationships, drink and drug misuse, sleeping rough and losing contact with her two sons and her family.
She credits Oasis House and its staff as giving her the safe and stable environment and support she needed to get her life back on track. Days after moving into her flat, she was encouraged to invite her younger son to spend time with her during the festivities and then last Christmas she was reunited with her older son.
She and her sons, now aged 10 and 16, now go bowling regularly or enjoy time together at the flat or with her sister and her family at their home.
Dana has other cause to celebrate. She recently discovered that her rent arrears had been negated owing to her circumstances.
“I had no idea because along with everything I’d lost all paperwork,” said Dana. “But then at Andrew’s request Anne Brown at Oasis House started searching for evidence to support my case and discovered my arrears of £3,000 had been written off.
"I can’t put into words how I felt when Anne told me the good news. It means I should be able to go on the housing register and I can now think that having my own home and of having my sons to stay overnight with me will happen.
“It’s been quite a journey. I’ve been to rock bottom and then I had the choice of staying there or fighting for what I wanted. I chose to fight and it’s been painful. Now I’m out the other side and it’s lovely.”
Dana is pictured, top right, at the Houses of Parliament with Andrew Lewer and Nicola Scott, and pictured above welcoming the MP to her flat at Oasis House.