We work with 16-21 year olds who've become homeless at a crucial point in their lives, when receiving support could make the difference between achieving a happy, positive life or becoming trapped in a cycle of rough sleeping, exploitation, mental illness and substance abuse. To find out more about the people we help, read on.
Elaine was doing well in college but suffered abuse from her stepfather, eventually fleeing the family home to escape. Her studies suffered and she lost her college place.
An older man offered Elaine a place to stay and in her desperation she accepted, leaving once she realised how unsafe this was. Just 19, alone and on the streets she approached her local council but was deemed ’non-priority‘. Luckily they were aware of New Horizon Youth Centre and referred Elaine directly to us.
On her first day at the centre she was able to wash her clothes, shower and eat, while our advice team found her a place in a north London emergency shelter. Elaine quickly engaged with our Independent Living Workshop which prepares young people for employment and private tenancy, and has benefited from working with our counsellor to address her low self-esteem, emotional and relationship issues.
Elaine now has a job working 20 hours per week at a cafe and is trying to get by on the minimum wage of £5.55 per hour. The National Living Wage does not apply to her as she is under 25. She wants to rent her own place but like many others in her position can’t afford the deposit or advance rent.
“I had nothing, I was all alone and scared, I had no family and no friends. I came to New Horizon and they helped me, they guide you on a path, they give you hope... I'm completely happy”
Ivan lived with his family in Tottenham but fell into gangs and petty crime. It became unsafe for him to stay at home due to this, so he began staying on acquaintances’ sofas and rough sleeping.
After accessing our accommodation advice, Ivan came to New Horizon Youth Centre with anger management issues and behavioural problems. Staff referred him to a YMCA hostel and slowly helped him to begin resolving his issues, with our Sports & Fitness Programme proving key to Ivan’s transformation.
Working with the team, Ivan learned how to respect boundaries, set goals and deal with setbacks in a positive way, eventually getting to a stage where he was ready to move on and find a job. Through our Education, Employment and Training (EET) Programme Ivan was able to prepare for work, eventually securing a retail job. He continued to come to the Centre as a peer mentor to those on the EET Programme.
Ivan is now employed as a mentor to young people with mental ill health. Without our intervention young men like Ivan face a wasted life in prison or trapped in a cycle of gang violence.
“I owe you guys my life, because if it wasn’t for NHYC I would still be on the street”