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‘I’m looking forward to having my own place, I never thought it would happen!’ – our first Whitecross customer moves into his own home

One of our customers who moved into our Whitecross supported housing accommodation in Hereford is moving into his own home.

Stephen Philips moved into our 12-bed scheme, which we run with Herefordshire Council, in July last year.

It provides a home and support for people who have found themselves homeless or sleeping rough in Hereford.

Stephen said he has been homeless on and off for 15 years when he came to Whitecross.

He said: “I spent a lot of time in foster care when I was younger, and I was later put into a young offender’s prison when I was 17.

“At first it was fun to behave badly, and I also liked the attention that it gave me. I have since been homeless on and off for 15 years due to relationship breakdowns. I stayed in a hostel in Birmingham for four years and then Hereford City Council housed me in temporary accommodation at Hedley Lodge Hotel. It was here that the council put in a referral for me for a room at Whitecross.”

Stephen said that when he moved into Whitecross and had been there for a little while, he started to feel better, and his self esteem increased.

He said: “Staff have encouraged me to realise that I deserve good things in my life. They have shared all my highs and lows and when my friend passed away at Whitecross they came to check on me at a weekend and I was able to cry about it.”

Stephen stayed at Whitecross for eight months and is now going to move into his own home at Blackfriars. These are move on flats for people moving out of Whitecross or Hope Scott House which is another supported accommodation scheme in Hereford. Blackfriars is owned by Stonewater and run by Herefordshire City Council.

Stephen was recommended for Blackfriars by colleagues at Whitecross and when he lives there, he will still be able to access support from colleagues working at Whitecross.

Stephen said: “I am excited and worried as I have never had a tenancy on my own and I don’t want to mess it up.

“I sometimes worry about who I will share the building with as I like to be left alone and I want peace and quiet. Sometimes I worry about the unknown and this affects my sleeping, but this is a step towards having my own tenancy.

“I am looking forward to having a place of my own at last. I have always wanted this for myself, and I never thought that this would ever happen. My home at Blackfriars is for two years, so I would eventually like my own permanent tenancy after it.”

Stephen said he would like to thank everyone who has helped him at Whitecross and said he feels like it is his safe place. Since being homeless he doesn’t like going outside and often his heart will beat fast until he is at home again.

He added: “When I was living on the streets it meant so much to me when people would take the time to stop and talk to me. This meant a lot more than giving money or food. Sometimes hundreds of people would pass by me, and I would feel invisible.”

Homeless Hub Coordinator Kerry Darnell said: “We are all so proud of the achievements and changes that Steve has made to his life. He used to solve his problems with his fist and now he thinks about the consequences of his actions.

“He hasn’t received any warnings since moving into Whitecross on 30 July and has been our longest resident.

“It’s been a privilege to meet him, get to know him, and we all wish him the best for his move into Blackfriars.”

For media enquiries contact our Communications Team.

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