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Effective ways to combat youth homelessness and substance misuse

19 October 2015

We continue our look at the causes of youth homelessness , by hearing from the Booth Centre. Manchester based, the Booth Centre, offers advice and activities to people that are experiencing homelessness, helping them to keep busy, build skills and confidence and make positive changes.

Group of people standing outside the Booth Centre celebrating 20 years

Many of the homeless people the Centre works with are battling with alcohol and/or drugs abuse. The activities offered at the Centre are designed to help change negative behaviours and move into a more stable and healthy environment. The activities – including gardening, sport, music and art classes – give people the opportunity to occupy their time, tackling boredom and low self-esteem which many homeless people experience, and build skills and confidence that will benefit them in everyday life.

Fred, 23, shared his story with the Centre, who have kindly allowed us to share it with you.

Fred’s Story

“I lost my job and then I couldn’t pay the rent and everything fell apart. I was living on the streets of Manchester, and couldn’t find work – how can you work when you are sleeping in a doorway?  I started to drink heavily to get away from it all.

“Somebody I met on the streets told me about the Booth Centre. They told me that I could get some advice and may be able to speak to someone about my life and problems. I went along, and that is when things started to change for me, slowly. I was helped to sort out my benefits and get a doctor. “

Fred, went to the Booth Centre when he was sleeping rough. He was able to access free food, advice and to contact his friends and family on the internet. The Booth centre provided support for Fred’s mental health and alcohol problems through their advice and activities programmes. As a result, his confidence and self esteem grew and his mental health improved. He also made new friends at the Centre which stopped him being so isolated and depressed.

The Booth Centre also gave him work experience through their supported volunteering programme, followed by a paid work experience placement as a cleaner and helped him move from the hostel into his own flat. This helped Fred get back into work and he is now very positive about his future.

Three people gardening

Digging in at the Booth Centre

“They got me into an alcohol rehab unit, where I lived for several months. I needed to keep busy, so I helped at the Centre’s allotment. It’s peaceful there and it’s good to watch things grow.  As my confidence started to come back, I began volunteering at the centre and they offered me a part time cleaning job.  I got a work placement through Business in the Community and now I’m working full time and I have my own flat.  The Booth Centre helped me to get through the bad times and I never want to go back to the streets.”

Join in our conversations on homelessness on social media by following #homelessness.

Find out more about the main causes (and consequences) of youth homelessness.

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