Abdul: A care leavers experience of homelessness

Abdul was a care leaver who found himself homeless. However, support from a Coram Voice advocate helped him to understand his rights and secure accommodation.

Abdul is a 21 year old former relevant child (care leaver) who was homeless in September 2019.

During a visit to a local homeless shelter, Abdul met a Coram Voice advocate who provided a drop in service once a month to ensure those eligible understand their right to advocacy.

Like many care experienced young people, Abdul did not know about his right to advocacy and was reluctant to speak with the advocate.

“I thought because I was over 21 an advocate couldn’t help me any more” said Abdul.

Eventually the Coram Voice advocate convinced Abdul to open up and tell them his story.

“I left my last temporary hostel due to the risk of violence”; said Abdul, “I had asked my old Personal Advisor for help, but was told by them that the case was closed as I was too old”.

His uncertain housing situation had left him being further at risk and his Personal Advisor had wrongly told him he was no longer entitled to a service, leaving him at a seemingly dead end.

“After I lost my job, I sofa surfed with friends for a few months, but this was very unpredictable, and I did not know where I would be staying each day. Sometimes this meant I slept on the streets”; Abdul recalled.  

After speaking to his Coram Voice advocate, Abdul understood his rights, and how a change in the law had introduced a new duty on local authorities to provide support to all care leavers up to age 25, if they want it. Abdul had not been told about this law previously, so together with his advocate, he attended the local authority meetings at the children’s department to ask for support.

Following that meeting and still being supported by his advocate, Abdul began emailing and contacting his local authority outlining their duty to support him. As a result, Abdul was very quickly provided temporary accommodation and his case was reopened.

Alongside his accommodation, Abdul asked for a pathway plan review, a needs assessment, and a commitment from the local authority he would be supported with his housing.

All of Abdul’s advocacy issues were resolved in January 2020.

“Thanks to talking to a Coram Voice advocate, I have been able to secure permanent housing and am back in education. I am also now aware that if I find myself needing support again, I am entitled to an advocate until I am 25”; said Abdul.

If you have experienced issues such as Abdul get in touch with our Always Heard helpline and speak to one of our specialist advocates today.