My name is Amato. When I was 20 I left the Congo to settle in the UK with my father. I moved in with my father and his girlfriend but I was always made to feel unwelcome so after 3 months I left to go and stay with my great-aunt. Over the following years I had to stay between various aunts and family friends but it was always overcrowded and I had to move on time and time again. I was homeless for 3 years before approaching my council for help.
The council told me I needed to find my own accommodation, and once I’d found a landlord they would help me with a deposit and rent in advance, they also suggested that I should move outside of London to Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester or Essex. I didn’t want to do that, everyone I know is in London. I found the whole process so overwhelming and didn’t know what to do or how to approach a landlord. The council then told me to contact New Horizon for support.
I got in touch with New Horizon and they supported me to get a room in Hotel 1824 in April 2021. I instantly felt really welcomed by all staff, I finally had a stable place to sleep and enjoy the security of 3 meals a day. Once I was settled, I met the New Horizon Advice Team and they helped me to get into longer term accommodation, within 5 weeks of arriving at Hotel 1824 I moved into long term accommodation. I really like my new place, somewhere I can call home.
While I was homeless I had been studying Childcare, English and Maths at college, but life was so difficult. I never knew if I’d have somewhere safe to sleep from one night to the next, it was almost impossible to stay on top of my studies. Now I’m somewhere safe and stable I’ve been able to fully focus on my studies and I even enrolled on some short courses to complete throughout the summer before starting back at college in September. I’m excited about my future, I plan to complete my studies in Childcare and after I want to work in a nursery. It’d also be great to go on to study more about Health and Social Care and build my career. Right now I’m still in the planning stage and working out what I want, because I’m finally in a position where I can really think hopefully about my future!
I’m so thankful for the support I got from New Horizon and Hotel 1824. If you’re ever in a situation like mine, you should contact them for help, whatever your problems, the workers can help by talking them through. Looking back it would have been better if the council gave more help, I had no prior experience of renting and it felt difficult and intimidating, especially in London and when you’re receiving Universal Credit.
We give young people, like Amato, the support they need to improve their wellbeing, change their economic circumstances and find somewhere that they can call home. If you share our mission of giving potential a home and want to get involved, you can read more about our work or make a donation.