How we have helped Joe to take his next steps towards independent living

We want to end youth homelessness and we’re tackling the problem locally by providing a home and support to over 100 vulnerable young adults every night. We give the young people a stable home and provide them with the skills they need so they can leave us and forge an independent life.

Joe* came to live at our accommodation centre in Norwich in August 2019. Aged just 17, he found himself needing a safe place to stay following a breakdown in family relationships at home.

With the accommodation centre usually helping young people aged 16 to 18 for a period of up to two years, our staff team had less time than usual to support Joe – but they started to work with him straight away in order to ensure he had the best possible future.

Assistant Manager, Ray says:  “Joe was happy for us to help him to work towards independence. We helped him to secure a place at college in order to get Maths and English qualifications, alongside a Bricklaying course which he found hard at first – but with the support of the staff, he worked through the difficult times.”

Ray continues; “One of Joe’s challenges was a stutter. When he was stressed, he was unable to get his words out and his anger took over. However, over time he learnt to control this, which has been a big achievement.”

We also supported Joe to get a part-time job. He now really enjoys earning his own money.

Joe says: “The house was a nice place to live and my room was great. We called it ‘The Penthouse’ as it was in the top of the house.”

Joe has been a positive resident and has achieved a lot in a short period of time. He always came to staff when he had any problems and since being with The Benjamin Foundation, his relationship with his family has also improved and now they meet on a regular basis. His family are also supporting him as he prepares for his next step – moving into an independent flat.

With some funding available from the local authority, Joe’s Social Worker will support him to buy some white goods and fittings for the flat. After receiving £150 from money raised by local people who took part in Sleep Out 2019, Joe’s Support Worker from The Benjamin Foundation is helping him to use this fund wisely to support his future and he has already visited our furniture store to take a look at what he can buy to kit out his flat.

One of our business supporters, Sandra Reynolds Agency, also gifted the residents at the house vouchers for Christmas, which Joe is also using to make the flat feel like home.

Joe adds: “The highlight of my time with The Benjamin Foundation has been the staff helping me to learn independent living skills and supporting me to get my own flat. I feel a lot more confident in doing things myself, managing my stutter and getting on with my family.

“The future is looking a lot brighter now The Benjamin Foundation has given me the tools to go forward in life and I feel really blessed to have the staff help me. They are people who care about me and help with all my problems.”

To support our work to end youth homelessness, visit

Thank you to Joe for sharing his story.

*Name has been changed.

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