While many services across the country have closed or moved to home or online working during COVID-19, our work to prevent youth homelessness does not stop, with colleagues working on the front line to support local young people.
When twin sisters, Carrie* and Alice* found themselves needing somewhere to live during the pandemic, the 17 year olds were bowled over by support from The Benjamin Foundation and, in particular, the generosity of a local, private landlord who offered their vacant accommodation, rent free, until September.
With dedicated outreach support funded by End Youth Homelessness through support from their COVID-19 appeal, we were able to ensure that the sisters were settled in safe accommodation during this unprecedented time.
Prior to moving to Norfolk earlier this year, Carrie and Alice had a difficult time. They then found themselves needing somewhere to live as the pandemic was sweeping across the country, yet they were unable to sign a tenancy agreement due to being under the age of 18. It was then that the sisters were put in contact with our charity, who had very kindly been offered the use of private accommodation for a few months by a local landlord.
Their close bond as sisters and personal circumstances meant that the pair were determined to stay together and the available flat was perfect for them. With the support of our charity, Carrie and Alice moved in. Here, Carrie shares their story:
“We were excited about the flat but we were also scared as moving is such a big thing and a lot of responsibility, but we are stronger people now and we have the support of each other.”
The twins were put in touch with Michala, a Support Worker from The Benjamin Foundation and their move was propelled forward as she guided them through the process.
Carrie explains: “We do have trust issues but our nerves went away when we spoke to Michala; she was so lovely and she helped us with all of our paperwork, told us what was provided and showed us around.”
We also gave practical support such as helping to get their utilities in place, but the key factor was the availability of the flat, which was generously offered to our charity rent-free until September by a private landlord who was keen for the accommodation to be put to good use during this time.
Carrie and Alice are delighted with their new base:
“It’s homely and big enough for us two. Now we’re in, it’s really cool! We’re actually here and we’re doing this! We couldn’t hold back our excitement and we started jumping up and down when we moved in!
“We felt like people were never there to help us before, but everyone has been so nice here. Even little things, like being given a toaster, mean so much.”
Carrie adds: “Without this flat and The Benjamin Foundation, I don’t know where we would be – probably in a hostel. We have such a close bond that it was important for us to be together. I don’t know what I would do without Alice.”
Once the restrictions of the pandemic begin to lift, we will be there to support Carrie and Alice with dedicated support through the End Youth Homelessness Rent Deposit Scheme, which is funded by Yorkshire Building Society, and the twins are thankful for brighter prospects in the future:
“It feels like there’s hope for us now. It’s like we are meant to be here and we are so grateful and really appreciate all the help we have had.”
To support the End Youth Homelessness COVID-19 Appeal, please visit:
Thank you to Carrie and Alice for sharing their stories
*Names have been changed.
The only way I can describe is - I feel like I've been set free.