March 31, 2023 11:47 am

Being a refugee, fleeing from violence is already traumatic. Having to face homelessness in a place which offered safety is an extra burden for a young refugee.

Ali (names have been changed) fled Iraq a few years ago and was intent in staying in Germany due to having some family connections there. Unfortunately he was deported from Germany whereupon he made his way to the UK to apply for refugee status here.

Ali had been staying in government funded accommodation before being granted asylum.  However, as he was being granted asylum, he was given notice to move out of the ‘asylum seeker’ accommodation. Because of the language barrier, Ali did not understand this and was unfortunately forcibly removed by the police. He then had a period of sofa-surfing with people he knew until he made contact with Nottingham Refugee Forum.

Open Homes Nottingham worked alongside Nottingham Refugee Forum and Nottingham Arimathea’s HOST project to house Ali for 6 nights, providing him warm evening meals, shower, a comfortable bed and breakfast the following morning. Our Nottingham Nightstop volunteers also helped Ali fill in a provisional driving license application form, which he had struggled to do because of not understanding all the questions.

Ali was no trouble for the hosts he stayed with. He put in lots of effort to converse in spite of the language barrier, and was confident in chatting about his background in Germany & Kurdistan. When he left early one morning to go to college, he left the bedroom in a spotless condition.

Ali attends college 2 days a week to learn English and other basic skills. He also has gym membership, a bank account and a bus pass. His hosts were confident that he would be able to thrive in the UK so long as he gets the support he needs.

Open Homes partners with many agencies and charities across Nottingham to provide accommodation and support, especially when there are complex barriers facing a young person. We are also so grateful to our hosts who bridged the gap until Ali was able to find secure accommodation and get back some stability and security in his life.