Young person in black t-shirt smiling Ben Vaughan Centrepoint

Andrew's Story: Living at Centrepoint made me feel safe, secure and grateful

Andrew was referred to Centrepoint’s Independent Living Programme after struggling to pay rent in supported housing once he started working. After a year in ILP, he has now moved into his own flat and is about to qualify as an electrician. 

The paradox of making work pay

18 months ago, Andrew was living with another supported housing provider. However, when he started working as an electrical apprentice, he struggled to pay his rent as his housing benefit was cut.

“I was a kid in care and I am a very ambitious person,” he explains. “But with the challenges I had to overcome during that year, it made me see how, not only foster kids, but young people in general just become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I didn’t have that inner drive and ambition, I might have easily given up. I never wanted to be in the benefits system. It’s there for people that really need it and I was working. But they squeezed me so much that it was tempting to forget what I was doing and go fully onto benefits because it put me in a better financial position.”

He feels that the way the benefit system is structured means that young people are demotivated to work which can kill their ambition. “If you don’t have that inner spark, then you can fall victim to the system and your dreams can die.”

Centrepoint’s Independent Living Programme

Luckily, Andrew was referred to Centrpoint’s Independent Living Programme, providing truly affordable housing for working young people experiencing or at risk of homelessness. 

For Andrew, it was life-changing.

“It was a stepping stone to the next stage of independence. I was able to save money for the first time and plan my future. I had more freedom and I could enjoy my life a bit more, I even went on holiday this year.”

He is grateful to Centrepoint and his Centrepoint Independent Living Advisor, Janet.

“Janet has been amazing,” he says. “She’s there if I need her, she talks to the right people, she helps get things sorted. She’s been really good to me.”

Meeting Centrepoint’s patron, Prince William

Andrew was one of the residents who met Centrepoint’s Patron at the official opening of Reuben House.

“Meeting the Patron was surreal. He asked about the difficulties young people were facing and his plans with the Homewards Project. It was cool to see that he was taking steps to counteract the barriers that young homeless people are facing.”

Making connections at Centrepoint

Andrew reflects on the sense of community he experienced whilst living at Centrepoint.

“It was good living with people with similar experiences. You are all unique but you make friends though your similarities and your differences. It was special I think.”

Raising his voice and advocating for others

Andrew is passionate about supporting other vulnerable young people and recently took part in our campaign #PLanForThe136k 

Andrew presented our petition at Downing Street and talked passionately to MP Nadia Whittome about the changes needed to help other young people.

He is also about to embark on the London to Brighton bike ride raising funds for Centrepoint.

Young person holding placard outside Downing St Centrepoint

Andrew holding our campaign placard outside Downing Street earlier this year

Looking to the future

Andrew says that his late father is one of the driving forces that keeps him moving forwards.

“Everything I do in life is to try and make him proud.”

Andrew has recently moved into his own council property and is coming to the end of his apprenticeship. He hopes to become self-employed.

“I feel safe, secure and grateful. I don’t know what the future holds, but I feel like it’s looking bright.”

Andrew’s drive and ambition is clear to see and we have no doubt that he has a bright future ahead. Good luck Andrew!