At her most vulnerable Faith faced the risks of life on the streets. Then she found Coram
Aged 17 Faith had nowhere to go and no one to turn to. After suffering years of emotional abuse at the hands of her mother she was cast out. Without a place to stay, she faced the prospect of spending her first night on the streets.
At first Faith “sofa surfed”. Relying on the kindness of friends and acquaintances, she spent a few days at a time in spare rooms and sofas. But it wasn’t long before she ran out of favours and her only option was to sleep rough.
Can you imagine how difficult it would be for a young, vulnerable and inexperienced teenager to access the services they are entitled to? It would be almost impossible without help.
But Faith got in touch with our Coram Voice Outreach team and for the first time she had hope. Our advocates have years of experience and never give up. Immediately we issued a safeguarding alert to ensure Children’s Services knew that she was homeless and at risk.
Even with the help of qualified and experienced advocates, no assistance was provided by the local authority. Sadly this is not unusual.
We helped her to find a solicitor to take up her case and challenge the decision to refuse her the appropriate support. Only then was temporary accommodation found for her.
We continued to champion her rights to get her access to support, advice on budgeting, finding permanent housing, dealing with landlords etc.. This is so crucial because for vulnerable young people like Faith, who have no support network, they need that extra help.
Every year thousands of young teenagers like Faith find themselves living on the streets. They expose themselves to risks from gangs, drug dealers and other predators because they don’t know where to turn for help. That’s why Coram is so vital. We provide a voice for young people who are trying to find a way out of homelessness and give them a chance of a new life.
Living rough exposes young people to all kind of dangers from drug pushers, child traffickers and gangs who take advantage of their vulnerabilities. And even if they avoid these dangers, homeless people are four times more likely to suffer mental health problems and three and a half times more likely to commit suicide.
Faith is now in permanent housing and has a steady job. She is safe and happy and finding her way in life.
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