Call 14: From homelessness to the Home Office, young people’s services must be humanised.
“I feel like I was not really important [in visits to the Home Office]. If you are doing great, they start noticing you… my auntie took us to the Refugee Council to study but there was a long wait. I went to Skills Development Scotland because my cousin told me they could help finding places in college and with employability, things like that. The person that was helping is just amazing. I feel like he actually cares. He would ask me, ‘How was the interview?’. All the time, he was encouraging. I think that’s so important.”
“When I go there, I’m just happy because there’s something constructive that I’m getting out of there. And he’s actually helping. He is the person that helps me through college, and to getting into college… When someone is actually giving you support, they can motivate you to do something. I think this is important… So I stopped going to the Home Office. I started to do things that are beneficial for me.”
“Organisations need to understand a lot of young people don’t have information or confidence to engage. Sometimes when I go to these organisations, I don’t feel welcome… For some young guys, they don’t want to go back again.”
“When I first came here, I found it very difficult to understand the situation in this country… I didn’t know anything. I didn’t speak English. I didn’t know how to use Google Maps and GPS. I was staying at home all the time. It was really cold and it was snowing. Although there are some organisations that help people to learn English, I didn’t know where to go to learn. Then I met someone from my country. He put me in touch with a community organisation. Still I didn’t know how to get there. I had to phone him and he would take me there.
“When I had an appointment with the Job Centre, I didn’t know how to speak English. I didn’t know what to do and what they said. I asked if I could have an interpreter so I could understand what was said to me. But I was told I couldn’t get one because I have already been in this country for eight to nine months. He [the person at the Job Centre] gave me the date and time for my next appointment and said if I don’t attend the appointment, they were going to cut my money. The Job Centre said my friend should be here to help me. I tried to get him to come to the Job Centre but he was working. By the time he arrived, we were 10 minutes late. We were shouted at and told that I should be looking for jobs through the advertisements. It was very stressful!”
“Support [for young people] should be about more than materials. Giving out leaflets is not enough.”
“To help people in the homeless situation, it needs more than a house… they need practical help and genuine support. What needs to change? See me as a person, not an appointment! Put more effort and time into genuinely supporting us.”
“It’s not effective if services are delivered in one way. Use diverse approaches to understand the person, their culture and know how to appropriately interact.”
“I need to feel that a person really cares about me before I can open up with my problems.”“There are different ways of support to meet people’s needs. When support is right, it can go a long way and change someone’s life… I want to become a social care worker, so other people don’t have to go through what I’ve been through.”