Bromley Churches’ Housing Action (BCHA) is a charity that was set up in 1988 to work to relieve poverty amongst the homeless of the Borough of Bromley particularly providing grants and short-term accommodation. BCHA currently devote their resources to the LATCH (Living Amicably Together in Caring Homes) Project.
Being homeless is a desperate situation to be in. You feel as though your whole world has shifted beneath your feet and, in an ideal world, it’s a rock bottom that people shouldn’t hit. When it happens to a young person the situation is more dire as they are less able to cope and the speed with which homelessness can happen is dizzying.
“Life for me got so difficult and unbearable that I didn’t know what to do any more. Sitting on a bench, no home, no clothes, no shelter, no certain future, all my dreams shattered, I remembered my grandma’s saying, ‘No matter how hard it gets for you in life, never give up on education’. I told my teacher Helen Hall about my situation and she immediately referred me to her colleague who happened to know about Latch Project.”
LATCH is a caring, nurturing charity who understand perfectly the depression and sense of worthlessness that young people feel and work with them to regain their self-confidence and self-esteem in an unusual way.
“That’s when I first met Nici, a happy big smile on her face, kindness washing from her, loving and caring person, was the first impression I got from her. She gave me a form and I filled it up and she told me to wait to hear from her if she’s got a place for me to stay for the night. My luck and my good references got me place literally the same day. It was unusual thing at Latch due to shortage of hosts. By 8 o’clock that night I was already lying on a bed for the first time in three weeks.”
LATCH matches young homeless people with hosts who welcome them into their own homes and both hosts and staff support them. Many of these young people return to education or gain employment. For some the stay is just a few months, for others it can be more than a year and some relationships between the host and the client become close and trusting.
“My new life began. I was determined, focused, and knew what I was doing. I don’t know where I would’ve been if charities like Latch didn’t exist. Not only me but hundreds of other young people that are out there, homeless, desperate and needy. It is hard. Now two years down the road and I am about to leave for University. One of the top 20 Universities in Britain.”
There is a desperate need for new hosts as there is a waiting list of clients and in winter the number of those seeking homes increases.
If you or someone you know has an interest in becoming a host then you can ring the LATCH office on 020 8460 0042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk or read this page on their website to get more information. This doesn’t commit you to anything and if you choose not to go further then that’s fine. If you find yourself in a different position in the future it’s simple enough to get back in touch with the team!
“Latch gave me my lost confidence back. It showed me that there are people out there who aren’t cruel and want to destroy your life. It reminded me to stay kind.
For everyone out there who are struggling and confused, just remember there’s always a way out only if you REALLY want it. Life doesn’t become sunshine and rainbows by itself but you have to make it like that by hard work, determination, sacrifice and focus.”
LATCH has a number of supporters but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need more – see their website for ways to donate!
The quotes are from Isaac – please read the whole of his story.