Alex is brutally honest about his reasons for becoming homeless.
“I don’t blame my mum for saying I couldn’t carry on living at home,” he admits. “My behaviour after leaving school was completely unacceptable and antisocial. I fell in with the wrong crowd and was taking drugs, setting a terrible example to my younger brothers.”
Alex, 19, lived at a friend’s house for 6 months before he first came to live at YMCA’s Hillbrook House.
“At that time, I was still struggling to break the pattern of my behaviour,” says Alex. “I didn’t stick to the rules and continued to smoke weed. When I was told I’d have to leave, I was absolutely distraught. It was then I realised how important Hillbrook House was to me – I really needed it. Without the support, I had no motivation to get myself sorted out. I was petrified of the direction I was heading in.”
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in November 2014, YMCA Hillbrook House offers accommodation and support to vulnerable and badly housed young people between the ages of 16 and 30. This year, we have had 52 new lettings, with 32 people moving on positively.
Alex was accepted back as a resident with the agreement that he would attend a 6 month Drugs Counselling course.
“It was fantastic,” says Alex. “I’m so grateful for the help I’ve received. I haven’t touched drugs since and I’m far more motivated. I go to the Princes Road gym regularly, play football and go kickboxing. I have a Co-Worker who I can turn to if I have a problem and I’ve made new friends who are a good influence.
This summer, I completed my Level 3 in Brick work at East Surrey College. Now I can’t wait to start working and make plans for life after Hillbrook. My mum and dad are very proud of me.”
Alex knows that a year ago his future didn’t look so promising.
“Without the YMCA, I’d probably still be smoking weed and dabbling in crime’,” he admits. “Now I can offer support to my friends in similar situations and act as a positive role model to my brothers. If I can help prevent anyone else from going down the same self-destructive route I did, it will mean a lot to me.
Hillbrook House has given me my independence and maturity and turned me into a young man.”