Mohamed first came to the UK as an asylum seeker, hoping to start a new chapter and find employment. He had previously worked as a carpet fitter, painter and decorator, but life didn’t go to plan and soon he fell into problems with alcohol and drugs. Now, however, he has been sober from alcohol for two years, has established a great support network, and is ready to move on. Astonishingly, he has achieved all this while continuing to sleep rough around Oxfordshire.
Living on the streets makes it increasingly hard to stay clean. Surroundings are dangerous, bad influences are all around and there is little to inspire change. Despite this, Mohamed has been working hard with Aspire to make positive steps forward. He has been volunteering as a trainee, which gets him work-ready by teaching him employment skills and improving his confidence. Through this experience, he has really proved himself, and his support workers know that he is ready for change
Mohamed has also taken the initiative to recover through sport. Before becoming homeless he was a keen boxer, footballer and pool player, and recently he decided to join a boxing gym. There, he has been enjoying physical activity and freeing his mind, benefiting from healthy friendships and gaining access to showers. These steps are really encouraging signs, not just for his recovery but for his journey out of homelessness. Taking initiative to care for his health again shows how much he is ready to start a new chapter.
Yet Mohamed has been trying and failing to gain accommodation for 15 months. Because of his asylum background, he is unable to prove a local connection to the council so is denied access to support services. Aspire have tried to support Mohamed financially but a big barrier remains. In order to gain full-time employment, he needs to secure accommodation, but each requires the other as a starting point: he has found promising employment leads but must have a sustainable address to follow them through.
All Mohamed needs is the money for a deposit and first month’s rent, so he can start to work again. Oxford is expensive, but his support workers want him to stay in a place where his network and new friends help him continue to make positive choices. Mohamed has worked hard to stay sober and improve his life while remaining in dangerous conditions. He needs one final bolster to start his life anew and leave homelessness behind for good.