Khalid is one of many young people in the UK with no family to support him.
He moved here alone from Afghanistan several years ago. He does not know where any of his family are and is currently working with the Red Cross to trace his parents. Once he gained leave to remain in the UK he was told to leave his temporary accommodation, and was made homeless.
When Khalid first moved into a hostel for 16-21 year olds, he was very shy and withdrawn. His support worker told us:
“Khalid is still quiet, but is a lot more talkative with staff, and is growing in confidence. He has started to bring friends to his flat and wants to develop his English, which has already improved.”
On top of the trauma of becoming homeless, Khalid’s support worker described a huge array of problems with his benefit payments.
“Khalid has had a lot of setbacks with his benefits, but this is never due to intentionally missing an appointment or not doing what was asked of him. He was advised to claim income support by the Job Centre, and when he did the DWP stopped his benefit, explaining that his circumstances meant he was not entitled to do so.
“He then had to wait two months for his first payment. He found it difficult to communicate with staff at the Job Centre due to the language barrier, but in spite of this has only ever missed one appointment. He has faced more disruptions in his payments than any other tenant.”
Further issues followed: when Khalid went with a member of support staff to open a bank account, the application was never followed up. He then had to replace his residency permit, but it came back with the wrong named printed on it, delaying his benefits even more.
His support worker expressed how little Khalid has to live on, saying: “Khalid doesn’t have much and some of his clothes have holes in them.
“Khalid has survived on food bank vouchers, and with the help of friends and staff, but a lot of time has passed and he is still facing the same issues. He is in the process of applying for a post office account but it has taken two weeks just to receive the application form.
“Khalid accepts all support that is offered, is polite and helpful to others, and always pleasant despite the constant problems he faces.”
Church Housing Trust was able to provide Khalid a grant for clothing, shoes, toiletries, food, and travel to help sustain him.