Following a family breakdown at 18, Kyle ended up on the streets and has battled with homelessness and substance use since. With support from Centrepoint's Homelessness Prevention and Relief Service (HPRS) in Manchester, Kyle is now in his own permanent accommodation through Housing First. He has put drugs behind him and is on the path to securing stable employment.
Kyle turned to drugs while rough sleeping
Kyle became homeless in 2015 following a family breakdown and since then he has bounced between hostels, hotels and the streets.
“Rough sleeping was the main reason I turned to drugs – I couldn’t sleep out there. Drugs were like a curtain to shut everything out,” Kyle admits. “This meant that trying to keep myself stable was really challenging.”
Clove, Centrepoint’s Rough Sleeping Coordinator, was one of the first people Kyle had contact with at Centrepoint. This was before the pandemic. She provided him with his initial assessment and maintained contact during her outreach work.
During COVID-19, and the government’s Everyone In initiative, the hotels and hostels that Kyle were placed in had strict rules about guests and where he could go. Kyle said this could have felt isolating, but it actually benefitted his situation – he couldn’t associate with people that may negatively influence him.
“I was indoors and not allowed to leave the building except to go to the garden, so I used it as an opportunity to get off drugs,” he reflects.
“In late 2021, a few years after Clove had first assessed me, she walked past me whilst I was on the streets. She said, ‘Kyle, I’m your case worker, whenever you need me come find me’.”
For Clove, it’s important to make it clear to the young person that you are there for them when they need you, but not to push. “Sometimes it can take months or even years to build up that trust with them. They need to be ready to accept help and you need to meet them where they are without judgement,” she says.
For Kyle, that approach worked.
“I went into Centrepoint the next day and she referred me to Housing First [an evidence based model to support homeless people to live in their own home], which helped me eventually get the flat I’m in now.”
Staying on track
Centrepoint were also able to refer Kyle to one of their complex case workers Amy, who supported him with his mental health during some of the difficult transitions.
“If my head goes west, I know can talk to Amy. Whenever I need her, she is on the end of the phone.”
There was a moment when things did go downhill for Kyle and he relapsed. His friend died in his flat and he had to move. For Amy, it was so important to be there as a constant during this difficult period.
“The trauma of losing his friend meant he started rough sleeping and using again, but luckily he managed to pull himself out of it with our support - he attended Centrepoint nearly every single day during this time and we helped him plan a memorial, which helped with the healing process.”
Kyle had support for training and employment
With continuous support from Centrepoint, Kyle is back in stable accommodation. The last piece of the jigsaw was getting Kyle back into work.
For Kyle, one of the hardest things about sleeping rough was being unable to work. It felt like a vicious cycle: the one thing that might help him find stability was impossible to maintain whilst in that situation.
“I’ve always enjoyed working and I wanted to be in work,” he says. “However, when it comes to applications and job interviews, writing down ‘no fixed abode’ doesn’t work in your favour. You can’t get a job if you’ve got no address and no ID.”
The Centrepoint Works team helped Kyle to apply for new ID so that he can gain employment training with one of Centrepoint’s training partners, The Pret Foundation. Their Rising Stars programme provides people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with everything they need to get back into employment, from training, to uniform, to support groups, travel and food.
Ben, the CP Works trainer in Manchester was instrumental in this process.
“If it weren’t for Ben, I wouldn’t be on this programme with Pret. Ben has done health and safety, food safety and helped me sort all my documents so I am now ready to be trained on the job in the shops. It’s been brilliant,” says Kyle.
Ben has been really impressed with Kyle’s attitude and the way he’s approached the training.
“Kyle was a star student, always turned up early, and was knowledgeable and enthusiastic throughout the course. He is great at building a rapport with people, which is one of the reasons why I think he will do very well."
Atthough Kyle found the Rising Stars programme really helpful and learnt a lot, he has since decided to move into construction and is currently doing his CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) training through Lifeshare. After which, he should be able to start work in the construction industry.
“I’m really excited about getting back into work. Working again has made me feel really motivated and excited about doing things again.”
Without Centrepoint’s support, Kyle believes he wouldn’t be where he is now.
“Centrepoint have helped me with so much. They’ve been an amazing. I couldn’t ask for anything else. They have been like a family to me.”
And Kyle’s advice to others?
“Accept help when it’s there because it might not always be there.”
We think Kyle has made incredible progress and we wish him all the best for his future.