Homeless Connor pays tribute to Worcester's YMCA

5:41pm Tuesday 4th February 2014

By Tom Edwards

A HOMELESS young man in Worcester says he owes his future to the YMCA - describing his time on the streets as a "horrible experience".

Connor Kelly, 20, from Dines Green, is slowly piecing his life back together after ending up sleeping rough in Worcester.

In April last year he had to move out of the family home after his mum found a new partner, and being unable to afford a rental of his own spent time on the streets.

After just two days sheltering in the cold he managed to get help from the Bubble project, a scheme ran by Connections aimed at helping young people find a new path in life.

He was referred to the YMCA in Henwick Road, St John's where a bed had become available and is still there today, rebuilding his future.

Connor was one of 1,327 people to approach Worcester City Council to say he was homeless last year, and believes he was one of the lucky ones.

"My mum moved out with her new partner so I needed to find somewhere to stay," he said.

"It was really hard and because I didn't have any real options I ended up on the streets.

"It was a horrible experience, I remember walking around Dines Green and going under a shelter to sleep.

"It was literally a couple of days before the YMCA offered me help and they've helped me so much.

"I thought I'd be on the streets for ages to be honest.

"I've been rebuilding my confidence, getting into a positive state of mind and am looking for work.

"I get Employment Support Allowance (ESA) and am trying to find something to help me, it's very positive now."

As your Worcester News revealed last week, nearly 4,000 people in the city have presented themselves as homeless since 2011.

Since April 865 people have claimed to be 'homeless' in the city and a total of 3,783 since the spring of 2011.

It is now expected to smash through the 1,000 mark for another year, after it hit 1,327 for the whole of 2012/13 and 1,527 in 2011/12.

Of the 1,327 people who approached the council last year, staff managed to ensure 819 didn't come officially 'homeless' through both advice and practical support.

In the current financial year, which runs until the end of March, 519 of the 865 people so far have avoided becoming statutorily homeless.

Councillor Pat Agar, the Mayor of Worcester, said: "My concern for homeless people is long standing."


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