“Thanks to the Renewal Programme, I turned my life around.”
Joseph* found himself suddenly homeless the same day he was given leave to remain. The Renewal Programme supported him with housing and skills so he could set-up his life in the UK.
Joseph was 21 years of age and from East Africa. He travelled to the United Kingdom from Libya after walking through several countries. He took a lot of risks to travel to the United Kingdom, but had to leave because of political problems in his birth country where he explained that people are not free and are imprisoned without trial.
When he first arrived, he didn’t know anybody and spoke little English. Joseph sought asylum and was put in a five bedroom shared accommodation with five other people, who were also asylum seekers but from different countries. The same day he was granted refugee status and he received his residence permit, he was asked to leave the house. Joseph became homeless, sleeping rough, which was hard to bear with as a young person without any family connection or social network in the UK. He would move around at night from building to building, to sleep, and when it got dark he suffered from panic and anxiety, because he didn’t what might happen to him.
He went back to the Refugee Council and they referred him to Renewal Programme. He was assessed and provided with accommodation. Through the Renewal Programme, he was also able to enrol to study English and have regular face-to-face support with his key worker to discuss any issues that he is going through.
Joseph was supported by his key worker to obtain a travel document from the Home office. Joseph was very happy when he received his first passport as this has given him freedom as a person.
“Basically, after all these problems I had suffered, I finally got the support I needed at last, from the Renewal Programme to turn my life around. I’m pleased with the support because it helped me to get what I needed especially positive guidance from my keyworker. Thank you. In future I will like to have my own home and have a qualification in computers, furthermore, to have my own car, a good job so that I can help myself and my future family as I will like to have a great family in the United Kingdom.”
“I feel like a bird about to leave it’s nest; nervous, but excited.”
Tom had been sleeping rough in Stratford Shopping Centre after fleeing from war torn Iran; he wanted to seek refuge in a safer country.
He was introduced to the Renewal Programme in 2017 and quickly moved into Supported Housing. Over the last few years, Tom said he has felt supported, listened to and cared for by his key worker, staff and management.
Since arriving in the UK, Tom managed to build strong and positive relationships with Supported Housing staff and fellow residents. This encouraged him to begin making friends within the community, which strengthened his support network.
One of the services he found most helpful was being educated, and kept informed, of his rights.
Whilst Tom was hesitant to leave the Renewal Programme, he said he is most excited to take control of his own life. He is confident that many of his fellow residents will follow in his footsteps, having seen that it is possible to move on from Supported Housing thanks to the support received from staff.
In future, Tom would like to share his journey with those who might be in a similar situation to where he had come from.
Please note that all names have been changed for privacy.