Samuel’s Story

My name is Samuel and I am 32 years old. Last year my family and I lost our home. It happened so fast. I suffer from mental health problems and after I lost my job we couldn’t pay the rent so we were evicted. My partner and two children found a shelter exclusively for women and children. However, I had to stay somewhere else and luckily I found a room at an Action Homeless Hostel.

I am really grateful because otherwise I’d be on the streets. However, it’s very hard being away from my family. I’m really missing my daughter and son. The thought of not putting them to bed at night is really painful. My son is very young and he is having difficulty understanding the situation.

I’m trying to get some work but because I have very few qualifications, I am finding it very difficult. I’ve signed up to some sessions with Engage (Action Homeless’ inclusion centre) and I have started to volunteer with Action Trust (Action Homeless’ cleaning and maintenance social enterprise). I know it may take some time but by volunteering I am hoping to gain the skills to eventually help me to get a job.

I’m trying to stay positive and I am doing everything I can to make the best of our situation. It’s going to be a really tough this Christmas but I’m hoping it’s going to be a better year for me and my family.

Samuel and his family have since been housed in one of the long-term empty properties renovated by Action Homeless. He was able to spend Christmas in the home with his family and he has since gone on to get a full-time job with the building company that refurbishes our properties. Their family has grown with the addition of a new baby.

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Rough Sleeping – A Response

Last week Homeless Link released shocking statistics that revealed a 30% rise in rough sleeping in 2015. Across the country an estimated 3,569 people are sleeping rough each night, a figure that has doubled since 2010.

Action Homeless places a strong emphasis on preventing rough sleeping and homelessness wherever possible. But, as these statistics show, we need your help more than ever. We have two referral services and the effectiveness of both is reliant on public awareness and action.

Our Duty Desk (Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm) is a signposting service open to anyone that has concerns about homelessness for themselves, friends, or family members and is designed to give the best possible advice no matter what situation someone has found themselves in.

To contact the Duty Desk call 0116 2211 857

Our No Second Night Out Leicestershire scheme is a partnership project with the national organisation Street Link. It is a number to ring, app to use, or website to visit where anyone can report the location of someone suspected of being a rough sleeper. Once their details have been received we are able to send out a street team to locate the person, make contact, and put a roof over their head. From this point they are given personal support as we help them find solutions to the problems they are facing, and get them a more permanent place to stay.

To contact Street Link call 0300 500 0914 or visit www.streetlink.org.uk.

None of what we do is possible without generous donations. Every penny we raise goes straight into our services and helps us to be there for rough sleepers in emergencies. If you would like to give you can do so here: http://bit.ly/1onz5Xe

One website, two phone numbers, three simple ways to change lives. We are reliant on you, the public, to be our eyes and ears in Leicestershire. Budget cuts and stretched services means it is impossible for us to locate and reach out to every person sleeping rough and experience homelessness, but with your help we can create a community that acts, helps, and offers a chance for change.

You can see the full Homeless Link report here: http://www.homeless.org.uk/connect/news/2016/feb/25/homelessness-services-face-uncertain-future-as-rough-sleeping-figures