A former drug addict who was sexually abused, lived on the streets and jailed is using his experiences to help homeless people tackle the reasons behind their chaotic lifestyles.
Life coaching, creative workshops and one-to-one mentoring are being offered, free of charge, to people in West Yorkshire by Bradford-based, not-for-profit social enterprise Hidden Homeless Ltd.
The organisation’s chief executive Gary Staniforth said it will help people with multiple complex needs, such as addictions, past traumas and anger issues, to move forward positively.
Now Mr Staniforth and his team want to hear from people who are ready to make big changes in their lives, as he has done.
“I have been through a lot in my life,” said Mr Staniforth. “I was sexually abused, grew up in care, was a drug addict, been in prison and lived on the streets.
“In 2008, I began to choose to use what I’d been through to good purpose and since then I have campaigned on behalf of homeless people and tried to help others break out of the trap of self-destruction in which they find themselves.
“There’s no counselling for the causes of homelessness. There might be help for people with drugs or alcohol, but it doesn’t look at the cause.
“It’s the same with anger issues. We don’t just want to tackle the symptoms. We want people to take personal responsibility and make a choice and we want to show how that it can be done.
“Uniquely, at Hidden Homeless Ltd, the care is provided by people who have been there and come through it.”
The organisation, based in the city centre, recently won £220,000 Lottery funding to expand its service, which has already worked with agencies such as the Together Women Project (TWP) which works with female former offenders and community drug partnership DISC in Bradford and Leeds.
Individuals or agencies working with those who are homeless or vulnerably-housed can contact Mr Staniforth on firstname.lastname@example.org or (01274) 303566.