“It’s been very difficult for us at the moment with the coronavirus. It's a matter now of trying to keep our residents safe and stable enough so they can move forward once everything opens up again.

When one guy I worked with first arrived recently, he was very ill in terms of his mental health. Through very focused and dedicated work, though, we helped to get him stabilised, so that he could have a normal day-to-day life, and re-establish contact with his family.

What we do is about establishing what ‘successful’ means for the people we work with. That can be anything from getting them settled into a flat, giving them hope that they can get back on track after their relationship or family has broken down, getting them the support they need to tackle problem drug or alcohol use and helping to get them back into work again and ready to start the next stage of their life.

At this time, we’re willing to accept any help that anyone’s able to offer, whatever that may be. That can be at a financial level, or even donations of leisure equipment - it can be hard trying to keep people occupied. Extern’s Coronavirus Hardship Appeal is a vital lifeline for us and our other hostels and residential centres. It’s about having those funds ready-to-go, as it allows us to deal with issues then and there – at the point of need.

Most of all, though, I hope that what’s happening allows people to realise that our homes are so important to us and everyone deserves a secure and safe space to call their own.

Homelessness is an issue which can affect anybody, at any time. It’s a chance for people to reassess what’s happening in their lives – that they, or someone they know, could just as easily need a hostel. Empathy is absolutely everything for the people we work with.”

For details on the hostel and its work, visit here

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