“Once you have experienced losing everything, you’ve got nothing more to lose and the only way is to go back up. The only thing you have is your life and the Centre has given me mine back”

Ismail, a former child soldier from Somalia, was sleeping rough when he first came to the Centre. He had a chest infection, blisters on his feet and was in a pretty poor way. The 22-year-old had studied and worked in the UK for six years, but when he lost his hotel job he also lost the accommodation that came with it.

He found details of the Cardinal Hume Centre on a leaflet from the job centre and arrived at our Gateway. Ismail was assessed by Centre staff and they offered him help and advice to find housing, a new job, and claim Jobseekers Allowance. He also received treatment for his chest infection from the onsite surgery. By using the computers at the Centre Ismail was able to search for vacancies and applied for 300 to 400 jobs a week. Once he started getting interviews Centre staff provided him with a suit and helped him practice interview techniques.

He has had two jobs since leaving, one as a market researcher and one as a salesman and is now setting up his own business. Housing staff also helped him to find accommodation.

“The staff at the Centre helped me to get my life back again. I was at a stage when my life was going nowhere. But they pushed themselves to the limit and did much more for me than I could ever have expected. “Being on the streets has taught me a lot about life. Once you have been in this situation you have hit rock bottom and once reached it you would be stupid to hit it again. Homeless people need to be given more help, guidance and support to get off the streets. The sort of support I have had at the Centre.”

This case study is associated with the charity The Cardinal Hume Centre.