In 2019 I couldn’t stay with my family anymore, so I came to London for a fresh start. To begin with I was staying in hotels but I ran out of money and hadn’t applied for any benefits yet. I managed to find a homeless night shelter in central London and two workers there told me about New Horizon. From that day on, I would come to the centre every day to get breakfast and coffee, take a shower and do my laundry. They also supported me to sort out my benefits as well.
Initially I was staying at a different shelter every night, which was hard as you had to move around every day and leave at seven in the morning. When Covid hit, I was taken into one of the “Everyone In” hotels in West London. It was a much better experience because I had my own room and three meals a day. I actually enjoyed lockdown because it gave me a plan and a structure - I felt like I was moving on.
Eventually I got placed in a long-term hostel. I still found this difficult but I was able to enrol in college which was good. I wanted to work but the rent at the hostel would be really expensive without housing benefit. I was looking for rooms to rent but I was struggling because I couldn’t afford a deposit. New Horizon offered me a year’s stay at one of their accommodation projects and I moved in. It is better than other places I’ve been - I like the people and my room is nice. I’ve applied to a level 3 course at college and started working full time in hospitality. It’s good and I’m in a much better place.
James' name has been changed due to safeguarding reasons
We give young people, like James, 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.