Yasser became homeless when he was given a surprise eviction notice to leave his home immediately in February 2019. He left with just the clothes on his back and slept between friends’ houses and the streets of Cardiff for the next six months, which he describes as the worst time of his life.
During these months, he faced a succession of obstacles. With no secure place, important documents were lost, and his benefits were sanctioned.
Yasser said: “This ruined my life, and it was really painful until I got to the YMCA. But things are starting to get better now with the help of the people at the service.”
Yasser is taking part in the Aspire program at the centre which is a four-week training program to help people experiencing homelessness get back into employment. He is also one of the many homeless people in Cardiff benefiting from the generosity of local businesses through Cardiff’s Homeless Charter.
“The course has been very useful to help me with my CV, job applications and get things like a nice haircut through Give DIFFerently before my interview.”
Having just completed the programme and feeling confident with his new haircut from Jones the Barber, Yasser went for an interview at Royal Mail for a Christmas casual job which went well, but he was unable to take the position because he doesn’t have a passport.
Until he can earn enough money to buy one, he won’t be able to accept any of the job offers he is being given. But with a degree in Business and IT and plans to undertake an MA in Business Studies at the Open University early next year, Yasser is dedicated and determined to get back in to work so that he can “get [his] life back, get a place to live and just do normal things that people do.”
Give DIFFerently and the charter were set up in response to local businesses number one reported concern in Cardiff city centre – homelessness.
Cardiff’s Homeless Charter now allows businesses to play a part in the solution with many already offering pledges including free haircuts, gig tickets, workshops and work experience. These pledges will support people at risk of or experiencing homelessness to gain new skills and experiences that will help them on their journey away from homelessness.
Your donations and pledges to the Give DIFFerenly fund can help to break down barriers for people experiencing homelessness. You can donate £3 by texting GIVDIFF5 to 70331.