James’ story

James is 20 years old and lives in North Tyneside – he is currently living in supported accommodation and has been there for about a year. James has been working with YHNE since attending an event in December 2017. He refused to have pictures of him to remain his story anonymous.  

James says that he gets involved with YHNE as he was keen to help other young people. James says he ‘doesn’t mind’ living where he currently does. He has his own self contained flat with his own kitchen and bathroom. He tries to keep himself as busy as possible and has just started a new traineeship and enjoys going to the gym. ‘I get on with some of the other young people, but there are a lot currently using drugs and that is something that I am not in to’

James became homeless when he was 19. Up until that point, he lived at home with his mam, dad and two younger sisters. James said that things were ‘tough’ growing up and that his dad was away a lot with work – his mum would sometimes use drugs and get angry.

‘She would often take out her anger on me and my younger sisters. This had a negative effect on my mental health and I struggled to deal with my emotions when I was growing up’. He would often get angry at school and was excluded on several occasions –he also said that he was ‘very close’ to going into care ‘a few times’ whilst growing up. 

He also says that his relationship with his dad was a key factor in him spending time with ‘dodgy’ people growing up. He spent a lot of time hanging around with local gangs and said he was headed down ‘the wrong path’ until he met his girlfriend. However, his parents didn’t like her so was given a choice – either stay with her or move out.

‘After that I decided to move out because my parents didn’t like my girlfriend because she isn’t British’. They took him to the housing office and he is now living alone in supported accommodation although he says he would rather be living with his girlfriend. 

He still sees his parents and younger siblings and said that things are ‘ok for now’ but doesn’t like going to where he grew up and says that he is trying to ‘move on’ with his life.  

James thinks that things are getting more positive for him but did state that he would like a bit more support from staff – especially around things like benefits and paying bills. However, he is excited to start his new traineeship and is enjoying working with YHNE. 

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